It’s easy to understand why so few auto shops offer advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration services in-house: Time. Money. Know-how. Hassle. Unfamiliarity.
But, with the increase in ADAS technology available to consumers and the industry’s 2023 push to have Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) come standard on all models, more and more technicians and automotive industry professionals will be expected to know about ADAS calibrations.
To help ease you into this new tech, let’s get familiar with calibration and the basic equipment needed to perform ADAS calibrations, including ADAS targets and tools.
Why do ADAS sensor calibrations?
ADAS recalibration aims to make a vehicle’s driver-assist systems work as well as new. To alert you when a car is in your blind spot, Blind Spot Detection (BSD) radar sensors need to know precisely where your blind spot is. To brake when there is a stopped car ahead, AEB sensors (camera sensor and/or radar and lidar sensors) need to know exactly where ‘ahead’ is.
Re-aligning cameras and resetting other measurement devices is the basis of ADAS sensor calibration. After repairs, you can verify that all ADAS systems and sensors are fully operational and collecting accurate data. Depending on the complexity of your car’s systems, this can include calibrating ADAS cameras, lidar, radar, thermal, and infrared, and ultra-sonic sensors. To check that these systems are working as normal, they must be re-calibrated. To do that, you need specific ADAS equipment.
ADAS Calibration Equipment
Just what exactly do you need to calibrate ADAS sensors and cameras in your shop? First, you must have an appropriate calibration space. Second, you need alignment verification equipment (for most vehicle manufacturers). From there, a basic ADAS sensor calibration toolkit setup includes the following:
- ADAS Diagnostic Tablets
- ADAS Calibration Fixtures
- ADAS Calibration Targets
- ADAS Calibration Kit Accessories
The necessary ADAS equipment required depends on the specific ADAS equipped vehicle and its OEM procedures.
1. Diagnostic Tablets
The most basic ADAS calibration equipment requirement is the ability to turn on a car’s calibration system. This requires a special ADAS software tool, sometimes called a diagnostic scan tool, often seen in the form of a laptop or handheld tablet. This ADAS tool uses software to initiate a calibration, which the car performs, in the proper environment, with the proper setup. An ADAS calibration tablet initiates both static calibration and dynamic calibration sequences.
2. ADAS Calibration Fixtures
After a diagnostic tool, the next basic component of an ADAS calibration system is a fixture to hold radar and camera calibration targets during the static calibration process. But, it can’t just be anything. Calibration targets need to be very still during calibration. They also need to be a precise distance from the ground, the car’s ADAS cameras, and other tested sensors. A calibration frame holds calibration targets firmly in place to avoid wobbling during testing.
Calibration frames can be stationary or portable. So, if you want to dedicate a bay for all measurements, shops can install a more permanent fixture. Alternatively, if you are going to need to move, portable options are available on the market. These models are on wheels and can be collapsed and brought to another shop location.
3. ADAS Calibration Targets
ADAS target equipment is the most variable part of the calibration tool kit. ADAS calibration targets range in size and shape, with variations for OEMs, model years, and more. The most common calibration targets needed are forward-facing camera targets and radar sensor targets. These typically are rectangular with black and white patterns. Depending on the OEM specifications, ADAS calibration targets can be printed or purchased.
4. ADAS Calibration Kit Accessories
The toolkit doesn’t stop with a scan tablet, calibration frame, and ADAS targets. However, there is quite a bit of variation beyond those three basics depending on the OEM, model, and year. One example is Kia Sedona’s Smart Cruise Control, an adaptive cruise control (ACC) system, which requires a calibration laser pointer for its ADAS calibration procedure. Beyond ADAS targets, other calibration tools include:
- reflective metal sheets
- metal cones
- window calibration tools
- floor mat calibration targets
- doppler simulators
What ADAS calibration equipment does your shop need?
Whether you work in windshields, collision repair or mechanical repairs, or another specialty, you will need different ADAS calibration equipment for your shop. There isn’t one simple kit to buy. But, each calibration system starts with the basics — a software tool, calibration targets, and something to hold them. From there, you will need to customize your calibration frames, targets, and accessories, based on your business model.
One in four shops offers advanced driver assist system calibration in-house. But that number is growing. As ADAS protections are becoming standard, more and more shops will need calibration equipment and staff trained to use it.
Don’t get left behind. Car ADAS Solutions helps clients vet their calibration facility space, choose ADAS calibration systems, and train staff. Learn more about opening your own ADAS calibration center.