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Thatcham issues ADAS recalibration guidance ahead of new code of practice

Thatcham has published guidance on how to manage vehicle repairs involving Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to help ensure vital vehicle safety functions remain operational post-repair.

ADAS calibration is required following a windscreen replacement of many new vehicles

The Thatcham guidance sets out that calibration must be undertaken and confirmed within vehicle manufacturer tolerances

Published ahead of a new ADAS Code of Practice currently in development by Thatcham and the industry, the guidance sets out how to approach the repair of safety-critical functions such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Such technologies are becoming increasingly common on today’s vehicles; more than 10% of vehicles on the road today in the UK are fitted with AEB alone, equating to some four million cars. The number will ramp up dramatically from 2022 when ADAS technologies including AEB will become mandatory for new cars under EU plans.

However, ensuring these safety systems remain in operation once a car has been repaired is vital and according to Thatcham, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry.

As such, the Thatcham Research guidance on the safe repair of ADAS sets out a number of  measures under which insurers and repairers can prove that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road; including that post-repair calibration to ‘vehicle manufacturer tolerances’ is essential.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, said: “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 training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely. And vehicle manufacturers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.”

Fleets have also been urged to play their role; last month saw automotive technology solutions provider epyx set out that operators also need strategies to ensure the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles to help minimise repair times and costs.

The Thatcham guidance has been welcomed by the motor and insurance sectors.

Laurenz Gerger, policy adviser for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said: “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.”

Thatcham Research has also published a guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements (please contact Thatcham for details) and is also working with the industry to develop a Code of Practice; it’s started a round of consultation with vehicle manufacturers, insurers, windscreen repair and replacement companies, equipment providers and repairers ahead of the release of the full Code of Practice later this year.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.