What is Auto Glass Calibration?
Your brand-new car was involved in a minor fender bender recently, and the windshield had to be replaced. You assume the necessary auto glass calibration was done. Now, you’re back out on the road, enjoying the day and choosing some music, when your car starts to drift into the next lane. You look up in time to avoid running into the car in that lane, but you realize you never heard the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) lane departure warning signal. What happened?
It’s true you shouldn’t rely on the ADAS technology to stay alert while you drive, but things happen to divert drivers’ attention all the time. It’s the reason this technology was developed.
Here are some things to know behind the curtain of auto glass calibration.
Safety technology in autos has a long timeline, beginning with a padded dashboard in the late 1940s. Drivers today accept the padded dashboard as simply part of the interior design. Over the years, more features have been added, including anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, and cruise control. Consumer Report made an article on the key active safety systems that make up modern ADAS.
Next up as standard equipment in cars will be adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane-keeping assist systems (LKAS), and cross-traffic alerts. Some new models include these ADAS safety features already, and they will become more common as more people buy new vehicles.
Cars are taking on more of the decision-making behind the wheel. And there is a good reason for this. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of all U.S. traffic accidents are caused by the person behind the wheel. The top cause is recognition errors, and this is followed by decision errors, performance errors, non-performance errors, and other human-related errors.
ADAS technology plays a major role in reducing these human-related errors and increasing safety. In fact, ADAS has been identified as a primary focus in the automotive and transportation industries. In other words, we will be relying more and more on our vehicles to keep us safe on the road. How exactly does ADAS work, though?
If you stand outside your car and look at it, you probably won’t see much difference. Built into cars now—and well hidden—are cameras, sensors, and radar equipment, and much of it is mounted on the windshield. And that brings us back to our original scenario: What happens when you are in a fender bender, or larger crash, and the windshield on your vehicle needs to be replaced? How does that affect all this high-tech equipment designed to keep you safe on the road?
The Auto Glass Calibration Process
The process of replacing high-tech windshields requires a higher level of experience, knowledge, and technical expertise from the mechanics working on vehicles. Most car owners only think about a damaged windshield being taken out and a new one being installed. But it involves a great deal more than that.
Here is some of the ADAS equipment affected by work done on a windshield:
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Automatic headlights
- Heads-up display
- Shade band
- Forward collision alert
- Lane departure warning
- Lane assist
- Collision mitigation braking
- Traffic sign recognition
- Pedestrian detection
- Blind-spot monitoring
All the ADAS equipment, such as sensors, cameras, and radar, has to be removed and then reattached after a windshield is replaced. The angles of the cameras and sensors must be set precisely to the manufacturer’s specifications. One degree off affects the viewing area, which can put you at risk as you depend on this technology for backing up, stopping, and alerting you to other dangers as you drive.
Some of the ADAS equipment works with multiple parts of the system. If one part of the calibration is done improperly, all the other systems connected to it will also be affected. In the example used in this article, if a lane departure sensor is improperly calibrated, it may also mean that another system won’t work properly or could be delayed. A tiny error in calibration could result in a collision.
The driver mentioned earlier assumed all the auto glass calibration was done correctly after his car’s windshield was replaced. Or maybe he didn’t know about the ADAS equipment that would be affected by a windshield replacement. In either case, if you need this service, the technicians at Max Auto Glass have the qualifications and experience required to carry out this high level of precise calibration.
We have the specialized equipment needed to set the cameras and sensors properly. It is a complicated process to connect the equipment to the vehicle for aiming and aligning the cameras to the manufacturer’s specifications. Some systems require the technician to drive the car as the sensors are set.
Once the windshield is replaced, calibration has to wait about 30 minutes for the windshield to set completely. This adds time to the job, so discuss this with the service staff to get an estimate of when your car will be finished.
Looking Ahead at ADAS
Statistics prove that ADAS has made cars safer in recent years. The U.S. National Safety Council (NSC) reports that “the highway fatality rate dropped by 1.8% between 2016 and 2017, following years of increases. Fatalities declined 4% the next year and another 2% in 2018.” All indications suggest this trend will continue.
Accidents still happen due to distracted, reckless, or impaired driving. There is more technology coming that will continue to increase safety for everyone on the road. It is predicted that there will be a 24% increase each year in the number of cars with some form of ADAS. Some ADAS features are still optional, but this number will decrease as government regulation moves toward the classification of standard equipment on new vehicles. One example of this is that all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2022 will be equipped with autonomous emergency braking systems.
Max Auto Glass offers excellence in knowledge and experience when you need your auto glass calibrated!