Hi-tech innovation - how cars and maintenance are changing

Autonomous driving has become a reality, thanks to the exponential increase in Adas systems on newly registered cars. Without entering the field of self-driving vehicles, limited to a few prototypes, a significant number of cars nowadays are capable of driving in total autonomy under certain conditions. Naturally the technology used needs specific maintenance procedures, to be carried out to the highest standards following the guidelines set by the manufacturers.

 

                                                 

What does the law say?

From mid-2022 all new motor vehicles sold in the EU will have to be equipped with Adas (Advance Driver Assistance System) systems. This much is required according to a regulation adopted by the Ecofin on the general safety of motor vehicles (including trucks, buses and commercial vehicles). The regulation details the agreement reached in Brussels which moved from 2020 to May 2022 the deadline for the mandatory use of on-board systems such as adaptive cruise control. The European Commission has set itself the objective of halving the number of casualties and serious injuries due to road accidents between 2020 and 2030. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the idea is to introduce some active safety systems in future cars such as Automatic Emergency Brake (Aeb) or Lane Departure Warning (Ldw) or pedestrian and cyclist detection systems on heavy duty vehicles.

 

How much is the ADAS market worth?

By 2025 the European ADAS market will be worth 3.71 billion euro. This was revealed in a study by SBD Automotive. According to the international consultancy and research firm, the European market for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems will grow by as much as 70%, going from 2.18 billion euro in 2019 to around 3.71 billion euro in 2025. In 2016, the number of cars in circulation equipped with Adas systems was slightly below 5% of the total. According to OEMs, in 10 years' time the percentage of new vehicles equipped with ADAS will increase to 60%, and in 15 years' time almost all new cars will be extensively equipped with on-board assistance. The results of the study show how that growth will be mainly driven by the rapid spread of three specific systems: Collision Avoidance, Lane Departure Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition, which by 2025 will have a market penetration rate of 81%, 75% and 53% respectively. An increase due both to the inclusion of these devices in the EuroNCAP programme evaluations, and to a proposal by the European Commission to make these safety devices mandatory on all new cars from 2021. ADAS technologies that will likely experience a significant growth are the 77 GHz Radar, of reduced size and complexity compared to the previous 24 GHz version, and the Mono Camera, particularly on lower segment vehicles. According to SBD Automotive, infrared cameras for night vision are a very limited solution and are not expected to grow much in the future, while Lidar and Trifocal Camera, with a longer range view compared to a standard one, are expected to score significant numbers along with ultra-sound devices (+200%).

 

ADAS maintenance

When should sensors be calibrated? It’s a rather long list, but it is essential to be thorough, as malfunctioning sensors could cause unnecessary deactivation or activation of emergency devices. Failure to calibrate a sensor would result in the incorrect measurement of any obstacle in front of the vehicle, which would most likely lead to a collision that would have been averted if the ADAS systems were working properly. Calibration, therefore, should be performed after an accident, wheel alignment, windscreen replacement, servicing, minor repairs and sensor replacements. Calibration of ADAS systems can be carried out in dynamic mode, i.e. while the car is travelling and under certain conditions, which are rather difficult to obtain making calibration procedures quite difficult, or in a static mode, i.e. in a workshop using calibration panels.

 

ADAS technologies

Adas (Advance Driver Assistance System) is an acronym that includes a long list of functions and devices designed to assist the driver in case of danger or emergency. The system is also capable of taking over autonomously according to the level of assistance offered. Among the systems we find:

•          ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control): keeps a safety distance between two vehicles while driving.

•          FCW (Forward Collision Warning): the system uses cameras and radar sensors to monitor the route and detect obstacles and/or cars present on the road.

•          BCW (Back Collision Warning): detects the presence of an incoming vehicle from behind using image data from a camera. It warns the driver in the event of a collision and can activate the safety devices before a collision occurs.

•          ISA (Intelligent Speed Assistance): changes the speed by means of a software that recognizes road signs and speed limits or alternatively after being set by the driver.

•          LDW (Lane Departure Warning): recognizes the lane you're traveling on. The LDW system warns the driver on a motorway if his or her car deviates from the current lane without activating the indicators, by detecting the road markings through front or rear camera images. If necessary, the driver will be warned with an acoustic signal or a vibration.

•          LKS (Lane Keeping System): same principle of the LDW, but in this case, the lane keeping systemshelps aid, alert and even steer you back into your lane, when it detects drift.

•          LCA (Lane Change Assistance): informs the driver of potential hazards when changing lane on roads and highways with several lanes. It serves to prevent accidents and therefore helps to improve safety on the road.

•          TSR (Traffic Sign Recognition): Traffic sign recognition is an advanced driver assistance system which can recognise road signs and display the corresponding information in the vehicle.

 

What are OEMs offering

 

Bosch

The calibration of driver assistance systems can be divided into static and dynamic processes. During the static calibration procedure, a calibration panel and a diagnostic system (e.g. DCU 220) are required. Depending on the sensor and system, a mix of dynamic and static calibrations can also be considered. Occasionally, the static calibration procedure is performed first and then completed with a dynamic calibration procedure (road driving). The ESI[tronic] 2.0 diagnostic software guides you through the necessary steps. The DAS 3000 station, a modular product designed for windscreen replacement specialists, body shops and professional workshops, is the professional solution for ADAS systems with a focus on efficiency, precision and technology. The calibration complies with OEM requirements and ensures significant time savings in positioning thanks to Bosch software procedures. It is also compatible with OEM-compliant workstations and all calibration panels are housed in the trolley.

 

Corghi

PROADAS is the universal system developed from Corghi to check and calibrate advanced driver assistance systems, wheel alignment and complete wheel angles of multi-brand vehicles. The versatility of this equipment fulfils the needs of many customers like workshops equipped with/without wheel aligners, mechanic workshops, body shops, windshield repairers. Thanks to its design, a single operator makes all adjustments without having to move. The system moves up/down electrically. Maximum precision and accuracy are guaranteed thanks to integrated technology, CCD sensors and contactless distance meters. Among the features also the immediate positioning (in relation to the thrust axis of the vehicle) thanks to data communicated in real time by integrated wireless devices. It is also error-proof; the software guides the operator during positioning avoiding errors thanks to preloaded values. Through CCD sensors it is possible to verify the alignment status of the vehicle and, if needed, make the necessary adjustments.

 

Hella Gutmann

Thanks to the CSC-Tool, in fixed or mobile version, combined with mega macs diagnostic tools, Hella Gutmann meets ADAS calibration requirements and even exceeds OEM specifications. To date, the number of manufacturer-specific front camera calibration panels has risen to 20, covering 25 of the most common brands. Hella Gutmann has also just introduced an image panel that covers the entire width of the vehicle, making it possible to calibrate LIDARs on Audi models. New digital targets have also been introduced, which are displayed onto a screen in the workshop via a projector that is perfectly aligned with the vehicle. Adas calibration is then performed remotely with mega macs, using real time updated information provided by the vehicle manufacturer.

 

MAHLE

Thanks to the digital TARGETLESS system, MAHLE’s calibration instrument does not require physical targets but shows on a 4K screen the correct reference images for the test management, recalled through the simple selection of brand and model under maintenance. The patented KEYSTONE technology allows the system to adapt the digital image of the monitor starting from the positioning of the vehicle perfectly aligning the ADAS sensor (camera/radar) and the instrument without having the need to manoeuvre the car further. This allows for a perfect and immediate calibration, without wasting time or without special workshop space to be reserved for this service. The DIGITAL ADAS station is also fully automated and can be used by a single operator. Finally, although it is possible to start the procedure from the rear axle, the MAHLE DIGITAL ADAS provides for a default measurement starting from the front axle.

 

Ravaglioli

The precondition for ADAS calibration is that the vehicle is perfectly aligned. Also the ADAS calibration panel needs to be perfectly aligned with the trust angle of the vehicle. Ravaglioli has chosen to collaborate with the most important manufacturers of ADAS calibration systems. Making use of Ravaglioli's CCD and 3D set-up technology, the models in the RAV TD3000 range are among the few 3D set-up systems that allow the panel to be aligned with the vehicle. The specificity of the Ravaglioli 3D system lies in the absence of the front panel, which is an obstacle during ADAS adjustment. Without it, the operator has total access to the vehicle and 360° freedom of movement. Before proceeding with any calibration operation it is necessary to check the vehicle’s angles. Ravaglioli's set-ups, in addition to checking all the characteristic angles, also allow the quick positioning of the calibration panel by means of a dedicated software.

 

Sipav/Cemb

Thanks to the ADAS CCD KIT, made by CEMB and distributed in Italy by SIPAV, the calibration procedure is much more immediate, as the CCD wheel alignment system identifies the thrust axis in a few fractions of a second, providing the user with a real-time indication of the relative position between the thrust axis and the ADAS calibration structure. The universal adapters in the kit allow to position the front CCD detectors on any ADAS/ACC calibration structure, while the rear ones remain on the wheels of the vehicle. Thanks to the software installed in the alignment program, the positioning is perfect and the procedure is extremely simplified. The CEMB Kit adapts to any calibration panel, is portable and requires no installation other than the software, is simple to use and allows to save time reducing the possibility of errors as it does not rely directly on the operator's ability.

 

TEXA

A correct calibration must scrupulously follow the instructions of each car manufacturer as well as a series of precise procedures. For this reason, TEXA developed RCCS 2, a solution that allows to calibrate ADAS sensors with extreme precision, keeping to the specifications required by the manufacturers. RCCS 2 allows the specialist to independently manage all the stages of the work, starting with the vehicle’s set-up, offering a simple, safe and highly professional service. It is available in three versions: with rim clamps; with tire clamps; with trim control kit, CCD sensors and rim clamps. In addition, the operator’s work is made easier thanks to the IDC5 software, which guides him step by step through help cards specifically developed for each vehicle. In order to know every secret of ADAS systems, a dedicated training course, D9C, is available.