CIECA’s May 21 CIECAst featured Brent Johnson, director of global product management for Chief Collision Technology, part of VSG and Dover, who presented “ADAS Calibrations---Do It Right and Document What You Do.”
Ed Weidmann, executive director of CIECA, kicked off the webinar by welcoming attendees and introducing Johnson.
Johnson began his presentation by defining ADAS, static calibration and dynamic calibration.
The presentation focused only on ADAS systems that include safety features. Static calibration is a method that uses predefined targets, locations and distances from the vehicle along with special software to calibrate an ADAS, while dynamic calibration entails placing the vehicle in calibration mode and driving a preset distance/time, traffic density and marking pattern.
“ADAS need a real-world reference,” Johnson explained, comparing the program’s need for training to teaching a teenager to drive. “It needs to understand and know what to consider a threat and what to ignore.
"At distances needed for safety, small errors create big problems. If you’re going down the road and have a very small error, the system reacting improperly or failing to react will create havoc on the road," Johson continued. "All vehicles are calibrated in the factory using static calibration methods, so this gives the vehicles, as they’re coming off the production line, a real-world reference.
"Most systems do have artificial intelligence, they do learn, so yes, you can leave them and let the AI learn, but like a teenager driving, it will take them a little while to pick up what they should and should not ignore.”
Using an example of a factory ADAS system from the Burke Porter Group, Johnson showed the system characterizes the vehicle, positions the vehicle, determines thrust angle, determines wheel runout, positions targets and accesses the ADAS module through ODBII and Calibrate.
He compared gantry-based and compact standalone calibration systems in the assembly plant. Looking at the concern of thrust angle, Johnson demonstrated a 1-degree offset equates to more than 1.75m of error, and depending on sensor monitoring, 1 degree could be less than 0.8mm of offset.
ADAS should be calibrated if a sensor or control module has been replaced or reoriented, if a vehicle has sustained structural damage and has been repaired, or if the sensor is behind the windshield, panel or facia that has been repaired or replaced.
Johnson urged shops to use OEM calibration tools for multiple reasons: “No OEM that I know approves aftermarket tools for calibration. OEM calibration tools are the most up-to-date and the most reliable, and they reduce risk of liability. There are remote options available that will come to your site and perform a calibration or do it over the internet, so you do have access to calibration tools, though it’s not always easy.”
Next, Johnson discussed which calibration data to maintain, sharing information presented by Dan Risley of CCC in the 2020 Crash Course. During each repair, the technician should document who performed repairs on the vehicle, including scanning and calibrations, along with their training level.
Documentation should also identify which repairs were completed, when the repairs were completed, where the repairs were completed, and why the specific repairs were completed or not performed.
“This is imperative. You want to have quality control procedures and document who did it and how they did it,” Johnson stressed.
Johnson also recommended maintaining calibration data to indicate the vehicle information being repaired, whether the calibration technician has specialized training and the type of tool used for calibration, including the software version.
“If you maintain and keep your tools and software up-to-date, maintain those records as well,” Johnson said. “Part of your quality control procedures should include making sure that your calibration tool software is up-to-date, and then document when those updates happened and what version of the software you used. It could save you a great deal of grief in the future if you can prove that you were using the current software version at the time that the calibration took place.
“Store the procedure version used. Vehicle manufacturers update procedures regularly and don’t always notify you when those procedures are updated, so maintaining the version used could be important. These items do not need to be stored in a single location, but they need to be easily retrievable.”
In conclusion, Johson said, "There are a lot of tools out there that claim they do it, and they may be just as good, but if you don’t have an OEM backing you up that this is how you should have completed a repair, who do you have backing you up?
"I know everyone in this industry wants to do the best repairs they can and make sure the vehicle is safe when it gets back on the road. Follow the proper procedures, and make sure you’re covering yourself and providing the information you need in case you need it.”
CIECA then opened the webinar up for a question-and-answer session.
As the May CIECAst concluded, Weidmann reminded attendees the webinar is eligible for an Automotive Management Institute credit.