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Comment: Consistency and clarity key to industry standard for safe ADAS calibration

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Neil Atherton, sales & marketing director, Autoglass, on the importance of clarity on ADAS repairs.

Neil Atherton, sales & marketing director, Autoglass

As advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) become increasingly common on UK roads, the new Insurance Industry Requirements (IIR) released by Thatcham Research are crucial to ensuring that fleet drivers are safe on the roads.

Autoglass played a key role in the development of these new requirements, working alongside Thatcham and other key industry bodies to provide greater clarity for repairers. The previous Thatcham Code of Practice, introduced in May 2019 for automotive repair and insurance companies, was failing to get enough traction within the industry.

The Government has recently launched a consultation that could lead to the introduction of cars with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities, meaning the vehicle can take over all driving functions under certain circumstances, as early as next year. However, there is a risk that some members of the repair industry are unaware of the correct procedures and necessary standards when it comes to ADAS recalibration. This could potentially be very dangerous, leading to drivers relying on technology which is not functioning properly. A consistent and clear approach is therefore the key to ensuring that the risks associated with driver assistance technologies are mitigated and vehicles are returned to drivers safe to use.

At the end of July this year, Thatcham Research released a set of IIR establishing the fundamental stages that repairers must follow to ensure ADAS are functioning as intended by the manufacturer following an accident. The new IIR now provide a consistent approach to how ADAS recalibrations need to be dealt with across the automotive repair industry – offering guidance for the full insurance supply chain, from glass to body repair.

The requirements will result in more cameras, LiDAR and radar, being recalibrated than ever before, which will ensure that vehicles returning to the road after repair work are safe to drive. The new practices therefore offer insurers more comfort that there are consistent standards for ADAS calibration across the industry that are being adhered to.

Whilst this is a hugely important step, repairers and fleets alike must now ensure that they continue to work closely and collaboratively with their suppliers to ensure that all their processes are compliant. For example, at Autoglass we are working closely with our tooling suppliers to ensure that the tools used in our repair work meet the new requirements and that this work is carried out by an accredited, competent technician. This is pivotal in providing safe recalibrations and is the reason why technicians that work for Autoglass complete the industry leading IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) ADAS calibration accreditation that was developed in November 2018 alongside key industry organisations including Autoglass and Thatcham.

The speed at which new technologies are introduced to vehicles in the UK car parc raises the challenge over how fleets can maximise the capabilities of these systems and improve driver safety, whilst mitigating risk. It is crucial that members of the industry work together to produce a consistent approach to repair work which is in line with the Thatcham IIR. It is not enough anymore to assume that other participants in the repair supply chain are fulfilling their duty of care. Repairers and fleets need to go one step further to ensure that every stage is properly regulated, and the technology is safely maintained. Ultimately, the focus needs to be on working together as an industry to ensure everyone is safe on the road. 

As the Government pushes ahead with its consultation into driverless vehicles, it is clear that further education is still needed. There are plenty of government campaigns to combat speeding but still nothing on mandating recalibration.

If the Government wants to introduce self-driving vehicles to UK roads in 2021, this needs to change.

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