As new legislation on Advanced Driver Assistance Safety (ADAS) in vehicles in adopted in Europe, Thatcham have unveiled IIR for safe repair of ADAS in vehicles. The development by motor manufacturers with ever more complex to repair vehicles filled with ADAS safety components has received important guidance with the publication of the insurance establishment and body repair trade consultation process or much needed clarity on the safe repair of these vehicles.
The IIR code of practice came into effect as the vehicle population which is already in excess of 4.5 million vehicles in the UK market alone. This figure is set to grow exponentially with the inclusion of driver assistance technology cascading down the market body platform even to the entry level units.
The new recommended procedures for the correct calibration of the systems themselves has become a long-standing challenge to the automotive repair industry as sensor calibration requirements vary greatly from one vehicle to another. However, now no matter what model is being fixed it’s become essential that manufacturers technical specification is fully met to reinstate a repair to its pre-accident state of functionality with no compromise performance.
ADAS – The South African approach
As usual in our dysfunctional state of body repairs, while some insurers are hesitant to pay for the reinstatement of ADAS systems, others are refusing to pay for recalibration of the driver assistance systems. It could be coming from a general level of ignorance by some brokers who just don’t get the point that the small print in most insurance contracts say that the vehicle must be repaired to its pre-accident level of performance and that includes the ADAS component. This plus a general lack in understanding of the complexity of where we are heading to with this technology. Manufacturers are adding ADAS to their entry level models to differentiate them from the rest of the market so there is no escaping the future. It is already in the latest Ford Fiesta ST and the ever-popular VW Polo models.
Overall the repair of these critical safety systems now seem to be taken much more seriously by both insurers and body shop repairers. The consequences of incurring a secondary accident where a client can claim compensation for negligence or failure of any professional repair centre to correctly reinstate the ADAS technology would hold an expensive legal claim from the insured driver if they are killed in a road accident.
So, if you don’t want to go to court, we need to play a pivotal role in the local implementation of the Thatcham approach to a safe process of repair. It is a welcome piece of repair guidance and a positive step in ensuring responsible accident repair standards for ADAS.
The IIR – the detail
The IIR confirms that inspection, realignment and calibration requirements must be considered in all situations where any of the following is included within the procedure:
- Parts likely to affect the operation and functionality of ADAS sensors:
- Vehicle geometry
- The IIR will deliver clarity to body shops who need a standardised approach to repairing ADAS. The goal is for ADAS reinstatement to become business as usual, presenting no greater challenge than fitting a new wheel.
- The requirements establish the key steps repairers must follow to ensure that ADAS continues to function as they did pre-accident, including:
- Identifying the presence, or not, of ADAS on the vehicle and ensuring this is recorded.
- Completing all relevant inspection, realignment and calibration activities as detailed within the repair procedures.
- Ensuring that calibration results confirm that the sensors are functioning within the vehicle manufacturer’s technical specification.
- In addition, repair procedures should clearly identify if inspection, realignment and calibration are required and why, repairs must be carried out by a “currently competent person”, and fully verifiable and auditable records should be produced, with a copy provided to the owner of the vehicle and/or the work provider.
As features like Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Keeping Systems become more and more common, continuing with a disparate approach to ADAS repair is at best inefficient and at worst a real threat to road safety.
By Ian Groat