March '19

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MARCH 2019 THE SHOP 29 estimated at $2 billion in new business opportunities. But the challenge for the aftermarket—as well as the collision repair industry—is how to make modifications or repairs to a vehicle with ADAS and remain within compliance standards and not void factory warranties. Documentation of modifications will be essential and critical. Generally, within the ADAS wheelhouse there are active systems that take control of a vehicle and passive systems that warn the driver of hazards. So far, the data says ADAS saves lives in two key areas: preventing forward collisions and providing blind spot warnings. But both physical testing and simulation are required to validate systems' effective- ness and reliability. And the cost to validate systems and modifications is high; it is also virtually impossible to test all situations. The tradeoff, however, is that ADAS can help drivers make better driving decisions. So far, there isn't sufficient data to make strong predictions about the ADAS market's future, but a few factors that will influence it include cost, liability and the limitations of artificial intelligence. Recent history suggests that, as with most digital technologies, ADAS costs will come down. What is unknown is how far down is enough to compete with the technologies already in place. Tools and equipment are expensive, and protocols have not yet been standardized. Insurance companies might hesitate to cover an unproven technology. And AI is limited by its codes and algorithms, which have a long way to go before coming any- where close to the human brain. The dominant trend now and in the fore- seeable future is that every component in a vehicle needs to "play nice" with every other component. For example, to modify wheel alignment from (or to restore to) OE specs involves precise calibration. Wheel alignment also includes safety system align- ment, which is a complex process. Another example is aftermarket grille guards, which can interfere with sensors mounted by OEMs to bumpers, causing them to malfunction. Business goes through cycles and what turns up will turn down and later turn up again. Important influences on how severe any downturn becomes include tar- iffs, trade wars and corporate debt. But, in the end, pushing all those trends are drivers, who do want safety, perfor- mance and cool cars. EDDIE WIEBER is Editor Emeritus of THE SHOP magazine. Autonomous vehicle technology is pro- gressing, but the systems have a long way to go to earn the trust of the driving public, studies show. (Photo courtesy Ainstein) EVs are growing: analysts predict that by 2025, 18 percent of vehicles will be hybrid or plug-in electric. But EVs are still limited by the number of charging stations and the time it takes to charge batteries. (Photo courtesy Electra Meccanica) (Photo courtesy Mullen Technologies)

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