From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Nissan Launches ADAS Calibration Course
Written by Mike Anderson, Autobody News
Published March 2, 2021
Advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibrations are an increasingly important part of a safe and proper repair, and that may prove a challenge for collision shops that lack relevant training and equipment.
For those ready for some OEM hands-on training, Nissan recently launched an ADAS calibration course.
Just as some automakers offer training on how to work with their particular aluminum structural components, ADAS and calibrations are just as important and unique to each automaker.
Certainly, more shops are wanting to do a greater share of this work in-house because subletting it can add complications and negatively impact cycle time. Sometimes there are even concerns whether those doing the sublet work are doing it properly.
I know shops are eager for more OEM training related to ADAS. We surveyed nearly 400 shops last summer and found 74% would be interested in hands-on calibration training offered by an automaker. One respondent said after months of being holed up because of COVID, the training could be in Antarctica and he’d still want to go.
Even among those who said they weren’t interested at the time, many said this was only a temporary view because of COVID concerns or because they’d taken a revenue hit last spring.
I shared my findings with some of my contacts at various automakers, and Nissan jumped right on it. I asked Mark Zoba, manager of Nissan and INFINITI’s Certified Collision Repair Networks, if I could publish our conversation about his focus on OEM-specific advanced training.
Full disclosure: My company worked with Nissan and asTech to adapt this training for the collision industry.
Anderson: Tell me more about how Nissan views ADAS, and how important it is for shops to know how to repair this advanced technology.
Zoba: ADAS is an important element of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility (NIM) initiatives to deliver real benefits to drivers. As a result, Nissan is pushing to make more ADAS technologies accessible to all of our vehicle owners.
Safety Shield 360 is now standard across many models, and breakthrough technologies like ProPILOT Assist 2.0 is debuting on our upcoming electric crossover ARIYA.
Shops, like our dealers, need OEM-specific advanced training to properly ensure that all safety and ADAS systems are functioning as designed. Thus, collision shops must be able to identify the systems present on a specific vehicle.
ADAS components also may be disconnected or moved during the repair process, requiring a calibration. This is why a post-repair vehicle scan is also essential to help assess ADAS system functionality and resolve all diagnostic trouble codes.
Is this training the same that dealer technicians receive?
It is similar, but not exact. I invited Collision Advice and asTech to attend the hands-on ADAS and calibration training that Nissan currently offers to our dealerships’ service technicians. We then worked together to “translate” that training for the collision repair world.
All of the calibration processes are the same, but Nissan wanted this training to focus on what collision techs encounter when working on Nissan and INFINITI vehicles after an accident. Our collision-tailored ADAS training includes what shops need to know about paint thickness over sensors, for example, or calibration issues related to the unibody alignment and specs.
What does the training look like? Where is it offered?
Although the collision industry offers many courses online, we felt that this needed to be hands-on training. It’s about 20% classroom training, but the majority is devoted to actually setting up and performing calibrations on real vehicles.
We originally thought the training needed to be three days given the amount of information. But we understand it’s difficult for techs to be out of the shop, so we wanted to condense the in-person training as much as possible. We piloted the course and found we could get it down to two days, though they are two very full days.
Part of what makes that possible is the pre-work that is required before the course. For those in the industry who said they wished there was more meat in OEM training programs, we deliver it with this class.
Even before setting foot in the training center, students complete e-learning modules on navigating Nissan TechInfo for repair procedures, on understanding ADAS components, etc. They have to know how to use TechInfo before they show up.
Students work on five new Nissan and INFINITI vehicles; each has been “bugged” with an ADAS problem that needs to be diagnosed and resolved. Students rotate through the vehicles, working in pairs, doing five hands-on calibrations. Then each student has to do three calibrations by themselves to pass.
There may be some students who may not pass this class. In fact, many that have taken the class have acknowledged that this is the most advanced and intense OEM training they have ever attended.
How has Nissan addressed COVID-related concerns?
I understand the concerns, and I also know shops need the information to work with our vehicles’ ADAS systems. Shops can’t just tell customers, “Come back in a year and we’ll calibrate your vehicle’s systems then.” If shops are performing these operations, Nissan wants to help ensure they have the proper training within a safe environment for learning.
Nissan has COVID-related controls, which everyone must follow. Nissan worked with asTech to create a dedicated training facility for the course in Jacksonville, FL. There are just 10 students at a time, working with two instructors, within a 3,000-square foot space, so social distancing isn’t a problem. Everyone wears a mask and gloves. Everyone gets their temperature taken in the morning before they enter the classroom, and everyone is using their own factory scan tool.
That reminds me: One of the things we do in the class is let students scan vehicles first with their choice of aftermarket scan tool, then scan that same vehicle with the CONSULT factory scan tool. Everyone has their opinion on factory versus aftermarket scan tools. We challenge them to compare the tools themselves, and students can see the results firsthand.
Who is eligible to attend? Is the training required by Nissan or INFINITI?
The course is currently open to Nissan and INFINITI certified collision centers, and we’re working on a solution to make it available to the industry in the near future. We’re prioritizing our certified shops, but we also want to help educate as many shops as possible. It’s important to Nissan to help make sure our vehicles are fixed correctly.
For our certified shops, the training is not required, although we strongly recommend it to shops that want to perform in-house calibrations.
One thing I found interesting after we did the pilot class was that some shops said they wished they had sent both a technician and an estimator. It’s helpful for them both to experience firsthand how to use TechInfo and see what’s involved in the calibration processes. This can lead to writing a more complete initial estimate.
So how does a shop get more information or sign up?
Shops can email my team at NNACollisionRepairNetwork@nissan-usa.com for more information. For Nissan and INFINITI certified shops, support may also include help registering for the course. Non-certified shops will be added to our current waitlist, and we will contact them once we open up the course to the industry.