Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) might sound like futuristic technology, but safety features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Adaptive (Automatic) Cruise Control, Automatic Parking Assist (APA) Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Driver Drowsiness Detection are now common features on many vehicles operating on our roads today.
WHY IS ADAS IMPORTANT?
ADAS monitors the environment around the vehicle using radar, camera, laser and/or infra-red and ultra-sonic sensors to assess vehicles speed and proximity to other road users, pedestrians and structures. Through intelligent computing, these sensors interact with the vehicle’s braking, suspension and steering systems, providing greater control and making for safer roads. They also provide invaluable parking and manoeuvring assistance for the driver.
Understanding ADAS and the components behind the technology can be daunting and often confusing but is necessary in maintaining and safely servicing today’s vehicles. Currently it is estimated that only some 20 – 30 percent of required calibrations are being performed after technicians have worked on a vehicle. In this article, we will focus on when the sensors for these systems require calibration.
WHEN IS CALIBRATION REQUIRED?
Firstly, it may be helpful to understand why these sensors require calibration. The cameras and radars fitted to today’s vehicles are referencing the thrust line of the vehicle, so whenever any work is done that has the potential to change the vehicles thrust line, the vehicles OEM will generally state that a calibration is required to be performed. This includes changes to the wheel alignment, particularly rear toe, as well as ride height – it is imperative that the sensors are “looking” in the correct direction.
With a windscreen camera this includes ensuring the pitch, roll and yaw axis are correct. The camera reference point must be correct, for example if it is too low it may recognise objects later than designed, conversely, too high and the possibility of seeing objects too early exists. With as little as 1 degree of horizontal misalignment over a distance of 200 meters, a radar sensor can have an alignment error of approximately three meters.
It is also worth noting that it is not always obvious that a sensor requires calibration after vehicle repairs have been conducted. For example, many OEM’s require rear radars to be calibrated after the removal and refitment of a vehicle’s rear bumpers or quarter panels, even if the radar units themselves have not been disturbed. A windscreen camera calibration is often required after replacement of the windscreen, even if the camera or cameras are not mounted to the windscreen, Subaru is a good example here.
Overall, sensors generally require calibration after any of the following occurrences:
- After the sensor has been removed and refitted.
- After post-accident repairs to the body geometry.
- After changes to the vehicle level at the front or rear axle.
- After a suspected impact on the sensor.
- After a wheel alignment is performed.
- If the ECU detects exceeded tolerance levels for the measuring field.
- For a camera, after the windscreen has been replaced (even if the camera is not mounted on the windscreen.)
- If a trouble code has been logged, indicating calibration is required.
- If the OEM service information states calibration is required.
We recommend carefully inspecting all vehicles that come into your workshop to determine if there are any ADAS features fitted, prior to commencement of any work. This will assist you in planning the job and if necessary allow extra time and resources if calibration of any sensor is required following repairs.
WHAT SERVICE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE?
To ensure you are aware of a vehicle’s calibration requirements after conducting repairs or modifications, we recommend checking the OEM service information. With the newly legislated “Right to Repair” laws now in place in Australia, this information is more freely available than in years past. If you haven’t already, have a look at the Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority (AASRA) web site. There are links to most relevant OEM web sites where you can obtain, service and repair information amongst other information. Some diagnostic tools will also advise, when a calibration is required. The Hella Gutmann Mega Macs range of diagnostic tools, with coverage for more than 48,000 vehicle models are one example, offering both instructions as to when a sensor requires calibration, as well as the calibration function for many radar, windscreen camera, all round cameras and Lidar sensors.
WHY HELLA GUTMANN?
HELLA has been developing and manufacturing Radar sensors since the early 2000’s and is now into their fifth generation of sensor technology. The company also develops software, other components and systems that are supplied to multiple OEM’s to contribute to a vehicle’s ADAS.
Supplying many European and Asian OEM’s, HELLA is considered a leader in radar technology and continues to push the boundaries to further evolve vehicle safety systems.
Being wholly owned by HELLA, HELLA GUTMANN has the necessary know how and an award-winning, user-friendly, modular camera and radar calibration tool, compatible with most ADAS-equipped vehicle models.
For a no obligation discussion with one of our ADAS calibration specialists, call 1800 061 729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org