What is ADAS Calibration? Full Guide to ADAS Calibration. Everything You Need To Know.

what is adas calibration

New cars come outfitted with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These advanced safety systems use sensors to gather information about vehicle surroundings. Sensors collect data that provides safety warnings. ADAS can even use sensor data to know when to take temporary control over a vehicle’s braking or steering, all in the name of driver safety. As with all sensors, vehicle ADAS sensors are only as accurate as they are calibrated to be. Enter ADAS calibration, a fast-growing need in the automotive industry.

In this article, we will define ADAS calibration, provide an in-depth rundown on the subject, and give four common examples of sensors that need it.

What is ADAS calibration?

Before understanding what calibration is, we first need to answer the question, “what is ADAS?” ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These are auto safety features made up of a series of systems and sensors that help enhance driver safety.

When a vehicle is damaged and repaired, the ADAS system must undergo a precise recalibration to restore them to their pre-accident condition. This ADAS calibration is crucial to ensure that all systems are performing as designed and maintaining optimal safety standards.

ADAS calibration (and recalibration) is the precise physical alignment, testing, and electronic aiming of sensors that collect data to inform your vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), and several others.

Recalibration tells sensors where to look. It also shows sensors their position in relation to the vehicle. Most ADAS sensors require precise aiming. As AAA explains, “… a sensor on the car that is out of alignment by a fraction of an inch or even one degree will be aimed at an area significantly off axis 50 or more feet down the road.” Likewise, according to IIHS Advisory 43, a change as little as .6 degrees would cut the reaction time of AEB in half.

In a brand new vehicle, ADAS sensors are professionally set in their factory standard positions. All sensors point in the same, precise place. But, throughout a vehicle’s life, things happen that cause sensors to come out of alignment — collisions, minor fender benders, and adjacent repairs or parts replacement. For example, vehicles with a windshield-mounted forward ADAS camera will require calibration after windshield replacement.

Unfortunately, ADAS sensors don’t all have self-diagnostic capabilities to tell the driver when they are out of calibration. Automotive professionals need to know and follow OEM standards regarding ADAS calibration, so that a vehicle’s ADAS systems properly function.

Types of ADAS Calibration

ADAS-equipped vehicles may require static calibration, dynamic calibration, or both, depending on the specific requirements of the vehicle’s ADAS systems and OEM recommendations, as each type of these ADAS calibration techniques will require different tools, equipment, and conditions.

Static ADAS Calibration

The majority of vehicles start with static calibration. Static ADAS calibration takes place in a controlled environment while the car is stationary. ADAS static calibration uses special tools in a specially rendered environment to precisely set sensor angles. For proper static calibration, technicians need:

  • Minimum of a 30’ x 50’ open space
  • A leveled/finished floor
  • Uniform, neutral color on walls and floor
  • Uniform and adjustable lighting
  • Unobstructed space around the vehicle
  • No reflective surfaces
  • No reflections on the windshield
  • No direct sunlight

Read More: ADAS Calibration Requirements for Facility Space, Lighting, and More

Static ADAS Calibration Equipment

Several pieces of calibration equipment are also needed to perform static ADAS calibrations, including the following:

  • An ADAS scan tool — most OEMs require a diagnostic tool to access and initiate electronic scan and calibration procedures.
  • An alignment rack — while all static ADAS calibrations require a flat, level surface, some OEMs go above, requiring the use of an alignment rack.
  • ADAS calibration tool — tool requirements vary by OEM, but they all have the purpose of holding up targets a precise, calculated, and measured distance from the vehicle, and are able to stay in place and hold targets in place.
  • Aiming targets — Some vehicles use one target, while others use multiple targets. Many targets look like enlarged black and white patterns, while radar aiming targets can be metal pyramid shapes, reflective metal plates, or an electronic Doppler box.
  • Measuring tapes — or laser measuring devices are a must. Precise measurements are taken from the ADAS tool to the targets and more.

Note: Depending on a vehicle’s age, make, and model, some static calibration procedures for forward-facing sensors will require manual adjustments. However, final adjustments occur during calibration and will be performed by the ADAS module itself, electronically.

Dynamic ADAS Calibration

Some vehicles require just a dynamic calibration. On the other hand, many require static calibration and include dynamic calibration as the final step in the ADAS calibration process. Dynamic calibration requires driving the vehicle at certain speeds and conditions, while connected to an ADAS scan tool — but it’s far from a test drive. While the dynamic calibration process varies by OEM, specific parameters are needed. Examples include driving on clearly marked roads, following one or more vehicles, avoiding curved roads, and driving at designated speeds.

Note: Dynamic calibration may require two technicians. One ADAS tech safely drives the vehicle while the other operates the scan tool.

4 Examples of ADAS Sensors to Calibrate

Modern vehicles include a variety of ADAS sensors, though not all of them need calibration. To help understand, here are some of the most prevalent ADAS sensors that most often need calibration.

Steering Angle Sensors

Steering angle sensors are pretty self-explanatory. They tell what direction the steering wheel is being turned. Setting your steering angle sensor is key to getting an accurate zero-point calibration. Some systems self-calibrate, some require re-calibration using a scan tool, and some require additional procedures. Typical calibration requirements include setting the wheels straight forward and using a scan tool to zero out the steering angle.

ADAS systems that use input from steering angle sensors:

ADAS Calibration of steering angle sensors is typically needed after:

  • Wheel alignment
  • Steering/suspension repair
  • Structural repair
  • Airbag deployment

Front Facing Camera Sensors

Mostly found mounted to the inside of a car’s windshield, near the rearview mirror, front-facing ADAS cameras detect cars, pedestrians, and obstructions in your vehicle’s forward view. Most OEMs use one forward-facing camera, while others, like Subaru, use two for better depth perception. Front-facing camera sensors gauge distance to forward objects, detect and watch lane markings, identify traffic signs (though some systems use a dedicated camera), and sense light levels.

ADAS systems that often use data from front-facing camera sensors include:

ADAS Calibration of front-facing camera sensors is needed after:

  • Airbag deployment
  • Windshield replacement
  • Vehicle alignment
  • Change in suspension
  • Many collision repair events, especially repair work involving more than cosmetic panel distortion

Forward Radar Sensors

Forward radar sensors are often located in a vehicle’s front bumper or grille. These sensors monitor the distance to forward objects and control the following distance. Some vehicles have a front radar system, some use cameras, and some use both, offering a system with an additional check and balance.

Calibration of forward radar sensors can be static, dynamic, or both. Static calibration includes aiming at metal reflector sheets or metal pyramid-shaped targets. It also requires a shop free of other reflective surfaces.

ADAS systems that often use forward radar sensor data:

Forward ADAS radar calibration is needed after certain circumstances:

  • Removal of the front bumper or grille
  • Front end structural repairs

Rear Radar Sensors

Located in a vehicle’s rear corners, behind the bumper cover, rear radar sensors, also need calibration. These shorter-range sensors are able to monitor the distance to approaching objects from the vehicle’s rear and sides.

Just like forward radars, the calibration of rear ADAS radar sensors is static, dynamic, or both. Depending on the OEM model, and model year, there are many different procedures for calibrating rear radar sensors, all requiring a software tool, measuring devices, and other equipment. To perform static calibration, a calibration mat, corner reflector, or laser tool may be needed.

ADAS systems that use rear radar sensors:

Rear radar sensors need calibration when:

  • Sensor or sensor bracket is replaced
  • Damage to mounting locations
  • Rear bumper removed or replaced
  • Structural body repairs at the rear of the vehicle

ADAS Calibration Solutions

ADAS calibration is a critical and intricate procedure, and is essential for ensuring the proper functionality of a vehicle’s advanced safety systems. The time-consuming process of ADAS calibration is vital for maintaining the protection of lives by these systems. At Car ADAS Solutions, we lead the ADAS calibration industry, providing specialized training and consulting services. Our expertise lies in certifying, implementing, and supporting the establishment of new ADAS Calibration Centers, emphasizing the importance of thorough and precise ADAS calibration

We provide a turn-key solution to opening your own ADAS Calibration Center.

We provide site design, technician certification, equipment, proprietary management system, quality control, and ongoing technical support. Are you interested in owning your own calibration center? Learn More.

Read More: Implementing ADAS Calibration Systems: 6 Challenges Most Shops Face (and What to Do About Them)

ADAS Calibration FAQ

What is ADAS calibration?

ADAS calibration is a precise process of adjusting the sensors and cameras in your vehicle’s advanced safety systems to ensure they work as intended, particularly after repairs or part replacements.

When should ADAS sensors be calibrated?

Calibration is needed after a significant repair, part replacement, collision, or windshield replacement—any time a sensor’s alignment could be affected.

Can vehicles be driven without ADAS calibration?

It’s not recommended to drive without uncalibrated sensors, as uncalibrated ADAS sensors may lead to malfunctioning safety features and potential driving hazards.

What are the different types of ADAS calibration?

There are static calibrations, done in a controlled environment, and dynamic calibrations, which require driving the vehicle under specific conditions.

Share this post

Related Articles

Subscribe To Blog Updates

Get notified when a new blog post is released!

Own Your Own ADAS Calibration Center

Enjoy high profits in an industry that is growing exponentially!