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Thatcham introduce ADAS repair guidelines

Thatcham introduces ADAS repair guidelines

Thatcham Research has introduced guidelines for repairs to driver aid systems (ADAS).

This will inform the automotive, repair and insurance industries on how to manage vehicle repairs involving ADAS, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control.

More than 10% of vehicles on the road today are fitted with AEB, equating to some four million cars. However, there is a lack of information on how to approach the repair of these safety-critical systems.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer, said, 'As ADAS continues its ever-increasing penetration into the car parc, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry. For their own peace of mind, repairers need proof that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road.'

The Thatcham Research position establishes an industry-standard response on the safe repair of ADAS.

It states that if ADAS sensors, or parts that are in proximity to ADAS sensors, are included in a repair specification, calibration after repair must be completed to confirm sensors are functioning to the vehicle manufacturers' specified tolerances.

In addition, to enable identification and safe repairs involving ADAS, vehicle repairers should: assess for the presence of ADAS sensors and record the outcome clearly; research and seek guidance from relevant repair methods and calibration instructions; ensure all calibration activities are completed by currently competent technicians; and complete system calibration in accordance with the relevant repair method/instruction.

Repairers should also be able to demonstrate that the calibration of all affected sensors has been completed and that the results of the calibration confirms functionality within the vehicle manufacturer's specified tolerance – unless stated otherwise in the repair specification; where no specific repair guidance exists, and functionality cannot be proven through systemised calibration, then advice should be sought from the vehicle manufacturer's dealership network and appropriate action taken prior to vehicle release; if vehicle manufacturer information states dynamic calibration, this should be completed and confirmed prior to vehicle release.

Richard added, 'ADAS supports the driver to prevent a crash in the first place. This represents a huge step forwards for vehicle safety. The transition into more advanced assisted and automated driving will continue to raise the safety bar. However, while that benefit may be fully realised on a new car, maintaining it once a car has been repaired is vital.

'The whole industry needs to work together to make sure ADAS repairs are safe and vehicles are returned to the road quickly and efficiently. Equipment suppliers must ensure that verifiable evidence of a successful calibration is provided. Repairers must invest in that training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely. And car makers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.'

Laurenz Gerger, policy adviser for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said: 'Insurers are major supporters of systems which improve vehicle safety and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. With a number of assistance systems set to become mandatory from 2021, it will be even more important to have clear guidance on managing vehicle repairs involving them. Ensuring these high-tech systems are working effectively after a repair is an important part of putting a vehicle back onto the roads and we are committed to helping establish the standards and processes to make sure this happens.'

The advice about managing repairs will work together with Thatcham's guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements. This also documents and identifies common component locations and functions.

By the end of 2019, Thatcham Research expects to see the results of consultation with key players, set to establish a Code of Practice for ADAS repair, prior to then lobbying that ADAS equipment is included in future legislation and safety checks such as the MoT test.

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