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What is ADAS Technology and How is it Contributing to Increased Vehicle Repair Costs?

Posted by admin on Jul 26, 2017

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), vehicle repair costs have increased by as much as 32% in the last three years. Thatcham—the UK’s version of the U.S.’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—released a study that cites increased complexity of vehicle materials, the rising cost of spare parts and advanced technology as possible reasons for the sharp increase. However, one major culprit that they cannot deny is the use of ADAS technology.

What is ADAS Technology?

ADAS stands for “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems,” and is a new technology commonly implemented in newer vehicles. An example of such a system would be the back-up camera, the automatic emergency-braking systems or the forward-collision warning systems. Not only do consumers want these systems in their vehicles as they promote comfort and safety, but also, the European Union and the United States government are both mandating that all vehicle manufacturers equip their new models with these safety applications. While this is great for drivers’ safety, it is not so great for their wallets.

How is ADAS Technology Increasing Vehicle Repair Costs?

ADAS technology is highly advanced, and as such, repairing a vehicle with such applications requires a whole new level of understanding for mechanics and repair people. Not to mention, because ADAS technology is actually implemented into certain components of a vehicle, what once might have been a standard repair might become a full on replacement.

For example, ADAS systems like autobraking are often implemented in the back of the review mirror so that they can “look” out of the windshield. If the windshield becomes damaged, it may mean that the entire camera system needs to be recalibrated, which would require a knowledgeable mechanic, a significant amount of time and costly materials. If the windshield needs to be replaced entirely, there is the very real possibility that only OEM glass can be used.

OEM windshields with ADAS technology are vastly more expensive than those without. According to Thatcham, a Volkswagen Golf windshield can cost 78% more to replace than a pre-ADAS windshield. A Ford Focus windshield replacement can cost as much as 123% more.

Finally, repair shops will be forced to hire individuals that specialize in the diagnostics and calibration of vehicles with ADAS technology, a whole different set of costs entirely.

Vehicle repair is certainly a booming industry, but industry insiders fear that the sky-rocking costs posed by advanced technologies and complex materials may force vehicle owners to seek out the help of amateur mechanics or, worse yet, forego repair entirely. Though ADAS technology has gone a long ways to improving driver safety, industry experts agree that there has got to be a better and cheaper way, something they are currently in the process of working towards.

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