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Can car driver assistance systems be completely reliable? – Tips

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Modern cars are equipped with several advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), but can we fully trust them?

According to motorsport legend and road safety proponent, Greg Murphy, such systems are only effective in keeping road users safe if they are kept calibrated so that all of their sensors are properly aligned.

“The more ADAS technology is developed, the safer our roads will become for motorists. But if the sensors don’t all work together like they should, then you have a car with a lot of technology that’s underperforming,” Murphy says.

“ADAS components that have not been properly calibrated may give customers no warning that something is wrong until they do their job. This could mean that the car misinterprets the proximity of the vehicle ahead, the position of a lane, or the position of a pedestrian, which could result in a matter of life and death.

Open the brochure for any new car and a substantial part of the specification list will be devoted to the ADAS technologies fitted to the new vehicle. It will include driver aids such as radar-assisted cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and more.

Car buyers are keen to have these systems on board while driving as they are proven road safety aids; however few realize that regular auditing of these systems is necessary.

It doesn’t take much change in calibration for an ADAS system to require readjustment.

If any of the car’s cameras have moved a single degree to the left or right of the centerline, the camera view when projecting 150 meters will be shifted by 2.6 meters.

The radar that warns an adaptive cruise control system of other vehicles sharing the lane must identify vehicles 300 meters away and a one degree shift in its alignment will shift its view to that 5.24m distance.

Greg Murphy is keen to have ADAS calibration included in vehicle health checks and an integral part of the repair process before any vehicle damaged in an accident is returned to its owner.

“It makes absolute sense to require the ADAS system to be checked by a certified vendor as part of regular vehicle maintenance, which is the equivalent of having the vehicle’s brakes checked during a WOF,” Murphy says.

“In addition, collisions, windshield replacements, tire replacements and wheel alignments, for example, can all affect vehicle safety sensors. Therefore, insurers and collision repairers should also require a vehicle to undergo a full ADAS calibration to ensure that when the vehicle is returned to its owner, it is in safe condition.

Besides crash repairs and windshield replacement, factors that affect ADAS calibration include rock damage, suspension changes, and normal wear and tear that comes with driving on imperfect road surfaces. .

If they are not calibrated, the systems become numb and no longer react to dangers. A recent example is that of a Dutch driver who activated adaptive cruise control and automatic steering on his car and found that he could not detect a truck entering his lane with unfortunate results.

Another Dutch driver found that his vehicle’s autopilot function could not detect a roundabout and drove straight through it. Although the driver reacted and braked, human intervention was too late to avoid an accident.

As part of his continued promotion of road safety, Murphy became an advocate for the services of ADAS Experts, a New Zealand network of ADAS service centres.

ADAS centers have already been established in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Whangarei and Wanaka, and more centers are about to be added to the network in Keri-Keri, Tauranga, Rotorua and Palmerston North.

ADAS experts also provide technology, support, certification and training so that fleet operations can include ADAS recalibration in their regular maintenance operations. New Zealand car rental company, GO Rental, recently took the opportunity to hone their maintenance team on the intricacies of ADAS calibration.

“With the newest vehicles (including Tesla Model 3 vehicles) in their rental fleet, John Osborne and the GO Rentals team knew that an increasing number of their cars were equipped with advanced driver assistance systems. designed to help eliminate accidents,” says ADAS Experts technical trainer Igor Pall.

“With a security-first approach, these features have been well received. However, gravel and stones on New Zealand roads meant GO Rentals saw a lot of broken windscreens. With the majority of windshields in their fleet fitted with ADAS sensors, they realized that repairs were no longer as simple as simply fixing the glass. New windshields should be calibrated and ADAS systems checked.