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ADAS Complexity Causes New Vulnerabilities and Maintenance Costs for Fleets

Truck Fleet Cost of Ownership

There are a lot of vehicles that are now equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems or ADAS. These include blind spot monitoring, surround view, pedestrian protection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and collision avoidance. Today, vehicles are the safest they have ever been, thanks to these technologies. Likewise, engine technology advancements mean that vehicles of the current model-year are better-built and more fuel-efficient than ever before.

This increased reliability is led by synthetic oils that last longer, onboard diagnostics that offer early warning signs for malfunctions, and transmission and engine parts engineering. The benefits of ADAS outweigh the negatives but they do result in higher costs of acquisition and new problems for maintenance management.

The Cost of Recalibrating ADAS Systems

There are numerous kinds of ADAS systems available. Some of them come in-built in vehicles while others can be bought with a package. The ADAS works by receiving input from different data sources which include in-car networking, computer vision, image processing, radar, LIDAR, and automotive imaging. There will be a continuous demand for ADAS due to instructions from both the European Union and the United States that all vehicles should be equipped with a forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency-braking systems by 2020.

ADAS systems can only be serviced by specially trained technicians. Even simple repairs made to vehicles mean that the ADAS system must be calibrated. This requires expensive and specialized equipment and tools. Windshield replacements have become costly and complex as ADAS cameras are built into the rearview mirrors and windshields. The cost of replacing a windshield in a vehicle equipped with ADAS is higher than a non-ADAS vehicle. Apart from the increased windshield cost, the vehicle incurs an additional cost with the recalibration of the system.

Technology has made vehicles environmentally friendly, long-lasting, and safer. However, it has also made them more complex. When mechanisms in vehicles become complex, vehicle repair also becomes difficult. ADAS brings about new software and parts to a vehicle like proximity sensors, cameras, and more which leads to increase maintenance expense. There is no denying that ADAS is reliable but these new technologies mean more expenses for the fleets. In order to detect repairs, there must be a diagnostic review which will increase the cost of repairs.

ADAS parts don’t malfunction but when they do, they require repair. This can be complex and expensive for the fleet since the repair will require complete replacement of the entire system instead of replacing individual parts. This is followed by vehicle recalibration.

ADAS Leads to Higher Labor Costs

There is a shortage of skilled labor in the vehicle repair industry because technicians are retiring in greater numbers than their replacements. Nowadays, vehicles come equipped with more technology and this requires independent repair shops to invest in diagnostic equipment for repairs. Diagnosing the malfunction would also entail acquiring the data from technology in the vehicle. The demand for highly skilled technicians who command greater salaries has also increased due to the complex systems present in modern vehicles. It has also resulted in increased labor hours, more expensive parts, and higher costs of labor for specialized repair technicians.

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