By Steve Whitmarsh, managing director, Run Your Fleet
It is encouraging to see manufacturers putting the driver, pedestrian and other road users at the forefront of their research and development, with increasingly intelligent in-car safety programmes, such as advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), incorporated into new models. ADAS technology is already able to alert the driver to various hazards, such as lane departure and potential collisions, with features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot indication, pilot assist and autonomous emergency braking. All of these are great and can only lead to a safer environment for both the road user and pedestrian.
However, are fleet operators, motorists and suppliers fully aware of the impact these systems may have on the cost and facilities required to recalibrate them following repair?
It is a serious issue, especially as it is estimated that 50% of all cars on UK roads will have these systems installed by 2020. In some cases, recalibration can be carried out on the road with a technician, but the accuracy and effectiveness of this method can be greatly affected in inclement weather – somewhat of a concern in the UK.
Most ADAS systems are windscreen mounted. This has significant implications on the fitment of screens – especially as many providers have recently closed their fitting centres to focus on mobile fit.
For instance, we have seen quotes of £180-plus to recalibrate ADAS systems as part of a windscreen replacement in a fitting centre. Even simple repairs like wheel realignments require ADAS systems to be recalibrated, as do accident repairs.
The cost is one thing, but vehicle downtime and availability of equipment is also a significant concern. On one hand, a vehicle can be driven without ADAS being recalibrated, reducing VOR times, but what risks are you exposing your drivers to if you decide to allow this? Who is responsible?
Of course, franchised dealerships have the requisite equipment and training – but what of the independent repairer? And who is validating the equipment they have? ADAS is here to stay – and for the better – but beware the hidden cost of repair.