More ADAS Target Debate
Now that I have been completing more ADAS calibrations I feel more comfortable asking questions and joining some of the debate. My question is for the "OE only" tool only crowd - how far do you take this? By OE only tools, are you talking about just scan tools and targets? Or do you take it one step further and use every OE tool to find the center line and so on. Would you use another brand stand with an OE target? Do you have 6 bubble levels in your truck, all OE?
I think that to play it safe the OEM will always say to use 100% their product. They can't control the aftermarket or what they come up with. I would propose geometry works whether you are the aftermarket or OEM. If you are able to assure the same measurements with the aftermarket product as with the OEM it should not matter. That being said, we all have a target on our backs every time we service a vehicle. When we deal with autonomous features that can cause an accident if not adjusted correctly, that target gets much bigger. I would look at some of the industry standards set by iCar. If iCar accepts a product or solution, you have the collision industry behind you.
If I'm not mistaken, I-car does indeed endorse Autel's ADAS system. Does anyone have definitive evidence either way? Even if they do, will that be "good enough" in the event the unthinkable happens?
From: Ask I-CAR Team <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: January 21, 2019 at 2:42:03 PM MST To: "Jason E. …" Subject: Re: I-CAR position on tooling
I-CAR does not endorse any tools, equipment, products, or services.
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Having been through a European OE ADAS class, having the right scan or a scan tool with the right software is a must. Using the alignment machine to help set up and center the calibration equipment was a must.
By the way, it took 3 hours to set and perform 4 calibrations with 4 more still needing to be done. Dynamic steering was done in 10-15 minutes instead of 30-45 minutes of driving, using the OE alignment machine. Oh the codes. If the calibration did not go through correctly, which it did not on the first attempt, lot of U-codes for rationality. If you are not familiar with them and their rationality, what a head ache.
For the center line calibration, there was a lot of talk on safety. Who wants to be the first to have a lawyer bring up a law suite because you think so. Either it was performed to an OE spec or you might be on your own. Google the technician that was convicted of manslaughter because the driver was killed because she lost control of her vehicle. The Judge did through out the charges. But the drama of it all for the cost of a vehicle inspection and you did not want to hurt someone's feelings by telling them that there car has a problem.
As far as the OE targets, if the patterns are the same and the calibrations go through with no codes and no degradation of performance, use them.
Coming from an OE training perspective, do it right and you diminished your chances of having further problems.
Just my take.
I find that everything in life, including this topic is based on reasonableness.
You sound like an articulate individual. If you are able to articulate why, what and how you did it, and the end result is correct, appropriate and professional, I would feel confident in that result. I would not go and make my own targets, use pirated software etc.
Speaking for myself, I use only genuine OEM laptop. There are now several companies as I am sure you know, who produce aftermarket systems. I will utilize the target, but I am very skeptical of the software. I think you can guess who I am referring to.
Be reasonable, you can't go wrong.
I would be more skeptical of the aftermarket targets than the software. The software only instructs the module to perform a task, and that task was created by the OEM. It’s no different than a SAS relearn IMO.
The targets, reflectors, mats, mirrors, etc are an interesting story. I have demoed Autel’s system, but only currently use OEM targets, reflectors and stands as of right now. In some cases, Autel’s hardware is more robust, more accurate and easier to use on certain OE’s. For example, using a laser instead of pulling a string is more accurate. Using an adjustable stand for a reflector is easier and more accurate than some of the OE stands I have seen. So I guess it comes down to how much do you trust A/M vs OE. It also has to make one wonder how much accuracy is really needed (human eye error, width of a Sharpie marker on a piece of tape, center of an emblem or body hardware, etc).
Here’s one of 5 we did this week. The paint isn’t even dry yet and the boiler isn’t installed in our new building.
Also a couple of shots of the demo.
I feel that if you are very precise, keep very good notes, have documentation, use OE SI, there shouldn’t be an issue, even with the main players in the A/M.
Those doing a large amount of calibrations are setting the industry standard for professional service of these systems.
"Industry standards are, in essence, criteria within a particular field of business, and are generally the minimal accepted requirements followed by the members of that industry. In this way, it provides those in a legal setting with an easier to define guideline for defining what is and is not reasonable, even if the standard relates to a field that is outside the ordinary knowledge of normal people. For example, while most people may know nothing about the appropriate industry standard of care for cardiac repair surgery, the standard can be used to identify whether a doctor committed malpractice."
There is really no debate here. Keep up with the industry professionals or risk it all.
Sadly, too many industry professionals push for non-professional solutions (IE NON approved procedures, targets, tooling). I don't understand why we are willing to go above the engineer's heads and use tools that were NOT developed by the people who designed the systems. In time, if the aftermarket develop tools that the OEM's determine to be sufficient, that is one thine (Hunter and Nissan, for example). Until then, we should not assume we are smarter then those who design, develop, and test these systems.
Just a point; when I joined iATN in the 90s using a scope to test and diagnose was not approved by any OEM or aftermarket part manufacture. Up until relatively recently using a scope still was not an approved method. So you are saying that all those non-professional unapproved tests done by all those hundreds of techs were improper and shouldn't have been done? If so, why are they proper now?
As far as your last sentence, I've met many of those people and quite a few techs and I would have to say in my opinion a lot of the good techs are much smarter than those who design, develop and test these systems. Why is it that I hear from Dealer techs who figure our better, faster, safer methods to perform repairs than their "betters" have told them to use, and then those same non professional non approved methods are then found in updated repair manuals or TSBs? I guess that someone who has no experience in repairing vehicles looks at the non professional non approved method and says, "Hey, I like it ! ! ", stamps his seal of approval on it and bang ! ! it is now a professionally approved better way to do it and that makes it okay.
It is one thing to use non approved procedures to test and repair or adjust, then verify your repair (test drive). It is quite another thing to use a non approved procedure that can't be verified as making the vehicle equal to the original OEM condition. Your blanket statement was not well thought out.
WOW, that is a stretch for a comparison. Testing a CKP with a scope and performing an ADAS calibration are to completely different worlds. IMO
Recent awards in lawsuit may cause us all to think twice about manufacturer standards.
So if I'm following your train of thought, those that have performed 1000's of incident-free calibrations with Bosch's A/M system, CAS of NE's system, Autel's system. Texa's system, etc are wrong in using A/M equipment? Those calibrations are or aren't setting setting the industry standard?
Reference the John Eagle lawsuit above. Everyone's seen it by now. I've spoken to many techs who admit to having glued on those roof panels as well. So far, their cars have been incident free. See, they are just waiting for the incident to happen and the right lawyer to latch on after it does.
So, yes. The 1000's of calibrations with anything but the recommended tooling and procedure can be determined as being incorrect.
Does anyone have a direct link to an "incident" with any system that involved an improper calibration resulting in a problem? I am aware of one incident involving a Toyota Lane Departure calibration done at a dealer using OEM equipment that was called into question after a subsequent collision. That one didn't go anywhere, except for a lot of lost time by the defendant.
Another potential interesting situation would be if the driver a vehicle with a non-functioning ADAS system (broken) be liable for the result a collision if the ADAS was working properly? Most, if not all, manufacturers leave themselves an "out" in their disclaimers that ADAS are "assistance" systems and the driver is still ultimately responsible for driving their vehicle.
I have a bad feeling that until some case law is established, there are going to be many cases tried in the courts, with a lot of blood-thirsty lawyers leading the charge. That's not to say that some calibrations can be done incorrectly resulting in collisions regardless of the equipment and procedures used. If you've done a lot of ADAS, you know EXACTLY what I'm referring to..
I don't feel that we will ever see any OE endorsement of any A/M ADAS system. That's not to say that they don't work. At the same time, I doubt you will see any OE explicitly "calling-out" any A/M system as being not capable of performing the tasks correctly. That could surely open themselves up for litigation too.
I was involved in one situation that could have ended up as a mess. I may have posted it here already. A vehicle with a forward wave radar took a very minor hit to the front. There was very minimal front bumper cover and other minor damage. The forward radar unit and bracket were not impacted. There were no codes, pre or post scans, done by the collision center. There was no reason to even have a wheel alignment done. The vehicle ended up in my shop after the collision center had the vehicle return to them with the complaint of the ACC not working. I confirmed that it wasn't working, performed a complete scan with the factory scan tool (no codes), and removed the front bumper cover to find the wave radar unit misaligned slightly (pointing down) due to a minor tweak in the cross bar that the bracket attaches to. I tried to perform the mechanical aiming, but it was too far off. The support bar needed to be repaired.
If you think there is a technician shortage now, wait until shops throw in the towel on ADAS, and with the migration of Otto-cycle propulsion to battery-powered vehicles set to happen in earnest now, the need for qualified techs is only going to go up exponentially . Whether schools provide us with enough "A-techs" the day after the graduation is a pipe dream at best, and an expensive "jobs service" somehow finding every shop in need of a "A-tech" an "A-tech", is another pipe dream. For each "A-tech" that's relocated, another need arises. There isn't an easy solution, but I don't want to have too much "thread wobble here so I'll leave it at that.
So as far now, ADAS a mess. Choose your implements and battles wisely.
Well said Bob.
I think that we need to put more focus on quality control and less focus on what tool you are using.
In order for a calibration technician to be found liable for a collision caused by improper calibration two things must happen.
First the vehicle must be calibrated incorrectly.
Second the vehicle must be involved in a collision that can be directly related to the calibration failure. That means crash data is taken, an investigation is done, and it is determined that had the vehicle been calibrated correctly the loss would not have occurred.
So the real question is: Are the aftermarket tools capable of calibrating these systems correctly?
But the OEM only platform seems to deflate based on the fact that the OEM provides training and certifications to their technicians that the aftermarket may not have access to.
Although some training is available to the aftermarket it does not come with a certification. So if you are not certified as a GM technician than do you really feel that you will appear qualified to calibrate those systems in front of a jury regardless of who's tool you're holding?
The fact is that if something is calibrated incorrectly in a static calibration it is not likely to have anything to do with the tool but more to do with the placement of the tool.
A good portion of the tools used to calibrate ADAS components are made by Bosch or a subsidiary of Bosch. Does that make the Bosch calibration system OE? This is kind of a mute point as the Bosch system is exclusive to Safelite.
But circling back to the two things that must happen in order to be found liable for a loss caused by an improperly calibrated ADAS system. OEM tooling, training and certification will not prevent you from being held liable. The ONLY thing that will prevent you from be held liable is performing the calibration correctly and verifying proper operation of the system before delivering the vehicle back to the customer.
I would rather put my family member in a vehicle that was calibrated with non OEM tools by a technician who's goal was to make that vehicle safe and performed a thorough post calibration test drive than to put a family member in a vehicle that was calibrated by a technician who's goal was to avoid any potential liability and used only OEM tooling.
Not to say that OEM tooling is not always the best choice but I think we are pointing our focus in the wrong direction.
If the tool that you are using has the ability to print-out or save a digital copy of the before and after calibration numbers, and they show the adjustments to be in spec, you should be ok. This doesn't matter if the tool was an AM or OE.
FYI In class I was able to move the calibration number to be off and not set codes, this was done so the techs would have to set the calibration to spec. I did not drive the vehicle but at long ranges it would be off. At the end of class we were able to see the log that showed the adjustment. Again, there was a electronic trail that showed the adjustment was made and the post adjustment numbers were shown.
There are a lot of good calibrations being done and I am sure everything was done correctly. But is there a way to show the results in case there is a problem. If you can show your results were good, I would go after the crash data. This would tell you what the driver was doing right before the crash. I saw a 20 page report from a vehicle that was totaled. 1/2 of second before the vehicle crashed the drive applied the brakes. Obviously it was not soon enough. The driver was at fault.
There was a point that was made about the safety features. Depending on the vehicle, we are either at a Level 2 or on the more advanced vehicles Level 3 autonomy. Which means the driver is in control. All the systems that are on the vehicle today except experimental vehicles are safety features to assist the driver, not take over any controls.
Mike, the direction that I believe should be the focus is how to protect ourselves, as well as performing a good service to the customer. Stay away from the tools that don't work and spend a little time investing in your education. Attach a pre and post scan showing the calibration numbers, manufacturers do not call out lairs unless it is obvious. Hard to argue with the printouts showing your results.
While I think documenting your results is a great idea I don't believe it will release you from any liability.
While I have not done every static calibration out there from what I have seen the final results that may be presented on the screen can easily be manipulated by moving the target slightly.
This means that a lazy calibration technician could get a failing result due to a physically misaligned component, tweak the placement of the target, and then get a passing result. I have a video where I did exactly that and drove the vehicle which was not calibrated correctly and was unsafe to operate despite a passing result. This is important because even a technician at a dealership who might not understand what they are doing could easily make the mistake of thinking that a successful calibration means getting a successful result by manipulating target placement.
While unlikely, this also makes it possible for a calibration technician to accidentally make a mistake and place the target in the wrong position on a vehicle that happens to have a component mechanically misaligned.
As an example, let's say a vehicle with a forward facing radar that is located to the right of the centerline is involved in a collision that has caused the radar to be oriented left slightly. The calibration technician, who may be used to calibrating radar units off of the centerline, makes a mistake and places the target on the centerline rather than to the right of the centerline (in front of the radar) where it is supposed to be placed. The vertical and horizontal aiming will pass and the technician can print out a passing result however the ADAS system will not operate correctly.
Taking this thought a step further I think we can agree that no two technicians performing calibrations, per manufacturer specifications, are likely to place the target at EXACTLY the same spot. There are variables. But there are not often tolerances for these variables.
I would challenge any calibration technician to perform the target setup procedures on the same vehicle from the beginning a few times. Making a target placement mark each time, leaving only that mark and tearing everything down and starting from scratch. Even the most precise technician is likely to see that mark land at least a few millimeters away from each other once or twice after a few attempts.
So what is the tolerance?
I don't think the tolerance is relavent to us as technicians or to a jury in a court of law. Because who is going to be able to prove that the calibration was done out of tolerance?
Simply put if the calibration is done correctly the only relevant results will be verifying system operation.
A note such as "verified brake prefill operation via data stream upon approaching slower moving vehicle" accompanied by a screenshot showing the prefill status in the data stream would verify that the system is operating correctly.
In my opinion the only way to ensure idemninty during these calibrations is to make sure the systems are performing correctly.
Great post Mike.
Here is an interesting bit from the northern neighbors.
While manufacturers require the driver be in control at all times and escape most liability for any mishap, who is to say that some where down the line another approach may be deemed justifiable. With the manufacturers identifying the specific composition of the paint, diffuse or specular transmission, and reflection at optical components and surfaces, size and dimensions of the targets, along with specific repair and calibration plans, is it not reasonable to believe that a repair experts departure from those specifics bears some liability?
Excellent, healthy discussion here. Just to add some color to this content...I assume most of you responding are techs/shop owners at mechanical repair facilities?
I have been in both dealership and IAM mechanical shops for 20+ years, but for the past 7 months have been in the collision sector. It is very different, primarily because a significant number of the ROs are third party pay (insurance companies), which are risk-averse by nature. Most OEMs have made their positions crystal clear that only OEM scans are approved. The insurer then has to walk the tight-rope between their OEM relationship and that of the repair facility.
There was a reference above to the “John Eagle Case”. Don’t discount the seriousness of the context of that. That case specifically deals with improper physical repair. The fear amongst the OEMs and the insurers is an ADAS-related incident that has the same net result. They are trying to get ahead of that eventuality.
If you are calibrating ADAS with non-OEM tools, the vehicle is then subsequently in another collision and there is a lawsuit, you will be holding the short straw, not the OEM or insurer. That is the risk you will assume. I know some of you will want to argue with me on this and justify your decision. Please don’t bother. I’m stating the facts that are out there, argued at the conferences, and negotiated daily with the adjusters. I am not taking a side on this, just providing insight on what I see daily from the field.
Really great contribution sir. Thanks for taking the time and contributing what you have aquired during your tenured experience in the collision sector. It sounds as though you are a real hands on, in the trenches type person. Doing this work everyday. I thank you for that. We need all the help we can get out here.
Hey, would you be so kind as to share with the group what OEMs have a relationship with an insurer? And, what insurer? What type of relationship do they have?
Again, great post, thanks.
All the OEMs have relationships with the major carriers, because they rely on one another to make sure the vehicles are properly repaired when in a collision. The collision shop (and the related insurer) will see issues that the OEM engineering teams had not/did not think of, and consequently have to develop repair procedures post-production. Most of the major carriers have research facilities that they test/develop processes, from welding to paint (to now scanning and calibration)
I suppose the collision industry is a little different in my part of the country. Here, the insurers have very little if any influence in the repair procedures. Although, I do know of one that does require only OEM replacement parts.
One of the companies I work with happens to be one of the largest collision centers in the US. They do all of their pre/post scans almost exclusively with aftermarket tooling. As we speak, they are taking delivery of Autel ADAS calibration systems across the country.
Safelite, the largest glass company in the US uses the Bosch calibration system exclusively.
It just seems to me like if aftermarket tooling is such a poor decision companies that large would do their research prior to making that decision.
One important detail I feel has been consistently left out of the John Eagle case reference is the fact that the plaintiff in that case was able to prove that the use of non OEM procedures were the direct cause of the loss.
With that in mind, it would seem to me that one would have to prove that the use of aftermarket tools will not allow an ADAS system to calibrate and/or operate correctly in order to state that someone using an aftermarket tool will be held liable for any subsequent collision.
I just don't see what I am missing here?
Mike, I was referring to scan software in my original post, not targets. There are OEMs, like Toyota, that provide the targets in their service information that you print on your shop inkjet/laser printer, and there are OEMs where there are part #s in their T/E catalog but they would never ship it to you. There are 4-5 companies with targeting kits available right now that are considered acceptable alternatives.
The OEM requirement I am addressing is the use of the OEM scan tool (HDS, Techstream, GDS2, etc). There are several aftermarket tool companies that have implemented their own calibration software (using ETI-supplied data) and there a few using software "borrowed" from the OEM tool itself. The position statements that are out (and coming out) are that the OEM will only endorse the use of their validated software. They are not planning on validating anyone else's software for many reasons, but lack of resources are the main one.
The big change you will see this year with the major carriers is a shift away from reimbursement of Post scan on a vehicle that is ADAS-equipped if the OEM scan tool is not used. I provided the reasons above in my original post. The big MSOs are learning this as they are dealing with more ADAS repairs. My intent was to alert you to the changes coming, not state how folks are navigating it now. Almost all the MSOs use an AM tool, and that world is about to change in specific use-cases, namely ADAS-equipped vehicles.
I have not run into any part numbers related to ADAS calibrations that I could not purchase aside from some discontinued or superseded numbers I have seen in some Honda and Hyundai SI. Is that what you are referring to? I do know of some that are rental only.
I am of the belief that the calibration function is not performed inside of the scan tool or passthrough and that it is happening on the vehicle side. This makes me think that the scan tool being OEM is even less relavent than the targets being OEM. Is that not the case?
In an article published in autoinc, Scott Kaboos of Honda Collision is quoted saying that Honda licenses software to the aftermarket.
To me this reads, that a representative of Honda is stating that an aftermarket tool can be licensed (or validated) to perform these procedures. You are saying aftermarket tools are not validated. Am I reading this article incorrectly?
I sure wish the insurance companies would push the collision shops to perform OEM only post scans this year. We all know that every collision vehicle in the US being taken to the dealer or having scanned by a mobile tech would overload the dealerships and mobile techs alike.
From my vantage point the insurance companies seem to be concerned with two things: cost, and cycle time. Both of these would no doubt be negatively affected by forcing collision repairers to do OEM only scans. Liability, on the other hand, never seems to fall on the insurance companies as their part in the repair process is not to determine the proper repair but rather to fund it. I wonder what would motivate them to make such a drastic change in one year?
I was in attendance at the CIC meeting when that discussion was being referenced. There are a couple of takeways: Rozint is referring to those who purchase the information from ETI and those who steal it. That is "licensed data to make an aftermarket scan tool" or pirated, non-licensed, which is illegal but readily available from all the tool trucks and W/Ds. Kaboos is referring to HDS, and your ability to purchase a valid HDS license for 24 hrs, a month or a year, and use the same software as the franchised dealers (per all R2R regs). Honda's position is very clear, they only validate and bless HDS. If you choose to use any other software they can and will say they did not test/approve it an do not endorse it. Olsen is correct in his statement of the need for OEM in certain circumstances. The scan tool does not do the heavy lifting but sends the command to the appropriate ECU to do its pre-programmed procedure.
That leaves the insurer in the middle between the shop's AM tool and the position statements of the OEM. Using the OEM software on ADAS-equipped vehicles does not increase cost nor does it increase cycle time. Sending it to the dealer will, but there are alternatives, including mobile, our DRIVE system, AsTech, AiR Pro, and the shop buying a 1 day subscription and using a J2534 device. The bigger concern (back full circle to my OP above) is JE 2.0 lawsuit and who falls on the sword when there are injuries/deaths related to improper ADAS repair.
Re; targets, there a few OEMs that will not fulfill target orders. You will get an "out of stock" message with no delivery date scheduled.
So I am lost in all of this.
It sounds like you are saying that since the scan tool does not perform any of the functions of the calibration other than command the module to do so correct? If that is the case I don't understand how using an aftermarket tool should cause any more liability than an OEM tool. Either it can perform the calibration or it cannot.
I do understand software licensing being an issue but I don't foresee anyone trying to perform these calibrations with an Actron code reader.
Are you of the belief that one of these aftermarket scan tools with pirated software will cause the calibration to perform improperly? I guess that I am making the assumption that if an ADAS system is calibrated correctly that it could not be the cause of an ADAS related collision.
I do understand that even being named in a lawsuit can be an incredibly unfortunate circumstance but I am curious as to how there could be liability placed on a calibrator without being able to prove that the system was calibrated incorrectly? Does that make sense? It seems to me that if you can be found liable for a loss due to a subsequent collision, regardless of whether or not the system is calibrated correctly that it wouldn't really matter what tooling you used. Sounds more like a witchhunt if you ask me.
I'm also a little lost on how it is not ok to use any tooling aside from OEM except in the case of the Cardaq Drive system. To me the DriveCrash software appears to be another aftermarket scan tool. Can you share any special details about any OEM endorsements that the DriveCrash software has that its competitors do not?
I like the way you operate! I was thinking the same thing here. Well said, and I think it had to be said.
It deteriotates into a sales platform. It becomes less about fixing cars and less about building a brotherhood, which is what this industry needs, much more than what this conversation has become.
To be honest I am really disappointed and discouraged at the direction this thread has taken.
If nothing else Matt, in the spirit of furthering the mission of this network, let me know if I can ever help you. I'd be honored to do so.
To both Matt and Dean:
Please re-reread the threads above. You are completely missing the point I was and am making. I‘m not selling anything in this thread. I am trying to inform the readers what is happening at both the OEM level and now the insurer level. THEY are deciding what tool THEY approve, and if/when you deviate from that the liability shifts to the shop. Any arguments about whose tool does what is irrelevant to that fact.
And, yes, we offer both OEM software in DRIVE CRASH and aftermarket with the same disclaimers we are discussing. According to the OEMs, they want their s/w used on ADAS-equipped vehicles. That is the message we are delivering.
Thanks for your interest in vehicle safety. Thanks for taking the time to " inform" us "readers" what is "happening" at the OEM and insurer level.
Robert, do you really believe that " right now, by and large that is not being done" referring to shops not fixing cars to OEM standard? How does one come to that conclusion, with only 7 months experience?
I'm in shops everyday Robert. I have been for the last 6 years and I see men and women working hard, not getting payed what they are worth, fixing cars and fixing them correctly! Doing the right thing. Doing the dirty work Robert. Work that most of this countries workforce are unwilling to do, yet we are going to stand in judgement and tell them what they are doing wrong under cloak of "upping the game". Maybe I'm overly optimistic. But I really believe that most of us care and strive to do the right thing.
If someone is truly interested in helping, jump in, we need more help actually fixing the cars. We don't need to be lectured what we do wrong. Contribute to the cause. I said it earlier, we need all the help we can get. We don't need a kids bad hockey coach telling us what a crummy team we are. Help the team, throw your skates on, get your hands dirty. You'll feel better! Trust me, we are not that bad of a team.
Robert, I know you may not want to hear this, however, I love what I do. I'm a workaholic. I live this stuff, 24/7. I want to fix the cars, and yes, I want to fix them correctly. I have every OEM scan tool. I will only use OEM scan tools for ADAS. I have well over 400 calibrations completed. Autologic is not the only solution to fixing cars, I'm sorry.
Robert, this is a well educated group here. In this group exist some smart people, really smart. Smarter than you or I. I know you don't want to hear that, but it's true. They know what's going on. They know the direction this whole issue is heading. We are not splitting the atom. We can see the future. Sometimes it's not what is said, it's HOW it is said.
And, even though you and I are obviously world's apart on, well, I can bet, just about everything in life, If I can ever be of assistance, just let me know, I would be honored to help you.
I've been in the automotive repair business for over 25 years. The last 9 years I worked as a Technical Training Manager/Diagnostic Manager for a National Franchise with 180+ locations, where we serviced 14,000/week. The comment I made regarding not using service information is a direct result of observation of 1000+ technicians over a 9 year period AND the comments directly from the 4 main insurance carriers in face-to-face meetings as well as the last 3 CIC meetings (were you in attendance?). I am relaying the problem. You can choose to ignore it, I'm interested in fixing it. Nowhere in this thread did I recommend Autologic as the only solution, so DON'T mischaracterize my position. I DID recommend using the OEM tooling, and have for the last 20 years. I will continue that.
Bob, I meant no offense. By OEM tooling I was not referring to only their devices. A lot of my OE tooling is with Drew devices. I have a Cardaq M and DrewLink that is used with OE software subs. Specifically Honda, Toyota, GM, Detroit Diesel, Cummins, and Navistar.
Making a statement that if you are not using an OEM tool or your companies Drive software than the liability shifts from the OEM to the shop is absurd.
If a shop calibrates an ADAS component they are liable regardless of what tool they use. Liability never "shifted", Period.
Just as they are liable when removing wheels.
I think there are folks in this industry attempting to spread fear in technicians with the end goal of convincing the industry that their product or service is better and/or will offer them false idenmity.
The real danger in any company taking on ADAS calibrations is not at all what brand tool you are using. What will keep you out of the woods will be the care in which you take to make sure the task is being performed correctly and that you have proper procedures that will allow you to verify proper operation.
Your companies tool, the OEM tool or any other tool WILL NOT provide anyone idenmity.
I think it is time for you and others to stop pushing that agenda.
It's not that it will relieve you of liability. Using OEM shows that you have done the best you could to do the job correctly. Using aftermarket or homemade does not say this. Listen to Todd Tracy talk about repair procedures, he flat out says he will own you for not using the correct procedure. When reading SI, they give part numbers, this makes the tool part of the procedure. It's not an agenda, it's about doing the job right and as much of a CYA as you can do.
If a tech/shop gets taken to court for an ADAS failure, everything written about homemade and aftermarket targets will come back to bite the person that said it.
What it sounds like you're saying is that if you calibrate a vehicle incorrectly, with a factory tool, that you will not be, or be less likely to be held accountable for a subsequent collision that is caused by an ADAS failure on said vehicle.
I don't believe that. It would seem to me either the vehicle is calibrated correctly or it isn't.
If the vehicle is calibrated correctly and the system is operating correctly than I cannot see Todd Tracy or any other ambulance chaser proving otherwise.
I think you're an intelligent man Bob. I don't think you believe that if a vehicle you had previously calibrated is involved in an ADAS fault related collision down the line, that Todd Tracy while representing the plaintiff, is going to look and see that Bob Heipp did the calibration and drop the lawsuit because Bob Heipp only uses OEM tools and procedures.
Stop reading into what was written and read what was written. "It's not that it will relieve you of liability."
"If a tech/shop gets taken to court for an ADAS failure, everything written about homemade and aftermarket targets will come back to bite the person that said it."
What I mean by this is if you stray from the procedure, everything on written on the internet will be use to get the biggest settlement possible. Using the correct tools and procedures will/should limit liability. Nobody walks away for free on this stuff. Why not CYA?
The way I see it, correlating a negligent repair procedure that compromises the structural integrity of a vehicle, with the idea that a part number of the tool used to perform a repair can prevent a technician from performing negligent calibration procedures or from being held liable for said procedures is a stretch.
Making an implication that publicly made comments about homemade or aftermarket tools will in some way ensure a legal settlement against whomever made those comments is even more absurd.
Assuming that were the case, let's say a calibration technician submits an article, which is published in a national trade magazine, that includes a photo captioned "A Toyota Blind Spot Radar Calibration being performed" that depicts the Blind Spot Monitor Beam Axis Confirmation procedure being performed on a Toyota Highlander with the bumper off, and no visible indication of any actual measurements taken, when the factory SI clearly states that the procedure should be performed with the bumper installed.
Can you give us some rough numbers on how big that settlement may be? I would assume that might actually yield the "biggest" settlement seeing as it shows photographic proof a completely negligent calibration procedure that not only disregards all OEM SI, but confirms the calibrating technicians complete lack of comprehension of calibration procedures.
I wonder if you can further elaborate on how a technician can bring "the [blind spot radar] sensor into spec, using a mallet" ?
"After performing the calibration a couple times without any noticeable change, I start smacking the quarter panel like a lumberjack looking to take down a sequoia. In the end, this sensor is calibrated to .7 degrees." ... Are you kidding me?
Aside from legal implications, what do you think about the assumptions that could be made concerning the standards of operation for a company that would allow their calibration technicians to perform these calibrations in such a reckless manner... let alone showcase their shoddy work in nationally syndicated publications?
The king of homemade targets accusing me of negligent repairs, that's rich.
Let me ask you this, if you check the BSM on a Toyota product and it does not read or is out of spec, how do you address it? We start with having the bumper pulled. Do I need to leave measuring on the floor during the process, you and I both know the answer.
How do you bring the BSM sensor into spec with a mallet? Straighten the quarter. Guessing you knew this and if you didn't, stop talking.
You have repeatedly implied that I have made or use homemade targets. You are clearly manipulating a statement I made a while back about the quality of the welds on the OEM radar targets. I stated that I could have made something that looked better out of scrap metal I had lying around in my garage.
Can you explain your king of homemade targets comment?
Speaking of manipulation, It doesn't make sense that someone who feels so strongly that they could be held liable for anything they put out in the public would post a photo of an improper calibration being performed with the caption "...calibration being performed" if they knew what the proper procedure should look like.
If you had followed the OEM procedure for the Highlander, you would have performed the calibration with the bumper on. If it had failed you are correct you would have to remove the bumper to address it. Yes, I do know the answer to your question of whether or not you need to leave the measuring on the floor, following OEM procedures, you would have had to leave the measuring on the floor.
There is a procedure called the "Blind Spot Monitor Installation Condition Inspection". This checks the mounting position of the radar. To perform this procedure, a jig (which is not seen in the photo for obvious reasons) is used to check that the sensor is aligned vertically and than measurements are taken using the same vehicle centerline measurement used with the calibration procedure along with an additional line drawn parallel to the original centerline. Like most manufacturers Toyota has procedures for aligning these sensors that requires precision rather than swinging a mallet like a lumberjack.
In the time it took to write that article, you could have read and performed that procedure correctly, and the owner of that vehicle and their families would have no doubt been safer for it. I hope that going forward, you will take the time to familiarize yourself with these repair procedures and perform them correctly. Not for the sake of defending yourself from a lawsuit or from being called a fraud, but for the sake of the safety of the human beings operating the vehicles you will likely continue to perform service on.
It would be nice if the insurance companies were concerned with making sure repairs were done correctly per OEM terms.
We all know that isn't the truth.
The insurance companies are actually doing the exact opposite of what you are implying.
Check out this article that talks about what actually happens when a collision shop makes it clear to the insurance companies that they will not deviate from OEM repairs.
For those unfamiliar with the collision side a DRP (Direct Repair Program) agreement is an agreement between the insurer and collision shop.
The insurer will grade the shop based on things like cost of repairs cycle time and customer survey scores. A shop that receives a high grade will get a bigger chunk of the business from that insurer.
While we all know that the owner of the vehicle can use whatever shop they choose that often doesn't happen as the insurer will recommend a "preferred collision repairer".
It's pretty clear from this article that the insurance companies are certainly not interested in making sure vehicles are repaired correctly to OEM specifications.
And why would they be? They are not liable. The shop performing the repairs is liable.
Almost everything you said above is true, except the position on the Insurance Co not wanting the vehicle repaired correctly. There are lots of articles that can be cited, but they are only telling one side of the narrative. The mother ships of the insurance companies that I work with ALL told me their goal is to return the vehicle to “pre-crash” condition, using OEM procedures. Problem comes in the process that is in place with the field adjusters. They are often compensated on what they don’t spend on a claim. It’s just like Sears Corp saying we want the vehicle repaired correctly and then having their store Managers sell unneeded parts because they are paid commission. Or a flat-rate tech skipping steps to beat the clock. Hard to hold some people accountable when they see easy money.
Be very careful of broad brush statements if you don’t have all the facts.
I'm not sure if you are disconnected from the industry, or intentionally intending to mislead folks.
What an insurance company told Bob is irrelevant.
Your Sears analogy hits the nail on the head. Just because they advertise wanting to have the vehicle repaired correctly means nothing, and should fool no one. If the company's processes and policies are focused on profit and not correct repairs, than it is irrelevant what that company claims their mission is. Smoke and mirrors.
If the insurance companies wanted vehicles repaired correctly they would IMPLEMENT policies and processes that ensured successful, correct repairs.
To my knowledge not one insurer implements any such policy so I will stick to my "broad brush" statement.
If you were in fact truly unaware of what is actually happening on a ground level between collision repairers and the insurance companies I would suggest reading up on it or even visiting some collision repair facilities.
we have mutual objectives, which is correct vehicle repair. I can assure you I am way more connected than your little world. Since you were not in any of the meetings I was with the insurerers, your conjecture is irrelevant on what was discussed. Others here are actually interested in working together, not bloviating and trying to prove how smart and relevant they are. You are welcome to join that group anytime.
Misleading people to think that the insurance companies are going to force collision repairers to use your tool is not considered working together.
No insurance company is going to mandate scans with your tool for any reason other than cost savings. Period.
Working together isn't approaching the insurance companies in an attempt to low ball the going rate for a pre/post scan in order to drive profits for your company up, meanwhile devaluing the proper diagnostics that technicians like myself on this forum perform daily.
Your intentions, and what you stand for are obviously not aligned with our industry or the people working in it.
Says the leader of the misleading/personal agenda in this thread. You are cordially invited to attend the next CIC meeting in Nashville and voice your concerns about those of us who are promoting the OEM Positions. You might actually learn something new. Somehow, however, I doubt it, since you obviously are already an expert in everything.
Bob, can you name the 4 or 5 companies producing targeting kits that you refer to above? Who considers them “acceptable alternatives” and by what means were they deemed so?
I‘m not so sure using an OEM scan tool is the end-all when scanning vehicles REMOTELY. There are bugs and glitches, and I was not impressed when having to work behind one of my collision center’s post-scan done a couple of days ago by a well-known remote scanning facility. They were using WiTech, and there as a glitch that brought the vehicle to me. Using my WiTech, I fixed their concerns and performed one necessary function that their “Master Technician“ apparently missed. No matter what the tooling, there are still humans that make a difference.
If you have not read my network communication posts yet, that would be a good primer for the rest of my answer for the 2nd half of your question.
From what I have seen, Autel, Bosch, Hella, CAS and the OEM channels are all offering targets with varying degrees of completeness. Similar to the OEM scan discussion above, who considers them acceptable alternatives depends on who you ask. The OEMs validate their own, everyone else claims to.
Regarding the Remote scanning question, I will answer generically since there seems to be a propensity of some to misquote me, add things I never said and accuse me of selling something. Remote scanning has some pros and cons, mainly based on the protocols of the vehicle (the reason above to read up on them). The way most folks have been doing it is to run a tool in a remote location, decode the requests over TCP/IP then recode them on the remote side. The biggest issue is latency. Internet speed is a definite factor, but protocol structure is equally problematic. So, manufacturers that have a high propensity of slower, more finicky protocols (like ISO9141-2) will see more issues when trying to run remote scans. Some OEMs have forbidden it in their license agreements. As a rule of thumb, the newer the application, the more likely it has a cloud server component built in and will be more tolerant of latency. Examples: WiTECH2, which is all cloud-based; SDD, ISTA, VIDA, etc that much of it runs from a server.
Yes, the tool is only as good as the user. I started selling OEM tools in 1997 when I worked at Vetronix. We sold GM Tech2, Toyota and Honda Mastertechs. For 20+ years I believe that the OEM tool is the correct tool for the job. Unfortunately, most shops and techs want one tool that is (1) cheap, (2) common user interface (3) Easy to use (4) guided repair and (5) connects to everything. Those are very different worlds as the vehicle complexity increases.
Thank you everyone for your replies. Here are some of my thoughts that started this post.
With ADAS I keep seeing the John Eagle case cited. My impression of this case is it was more about procedure than tooling. So the roof was not welded, had it been welded properly with a generic welder would there still have been a case? Should the body shop need to have a welder purchased from Honda?
My point of this post is to create discussion about what should be best practice. To me OE scan tools and targets seem like the best option. But on that note I think there are generic ways for me to find the center line and level radar sensors that may not be exactly as the OE procedure, but the end results are the same or better. As I said earlier, how far should we take this? I did a Hyundai radar sensor the other day, I used a very high quality digital level to set it. So I didn't use the Hyundai special tool, which is just a bubble level. I believe my results were better than what the special tool would have done.
The OE scan tool discussion is more important than ever. I still cannot understand why shops do not tool up properly. How much does a body shop spend on their welding equipment, paint booth, frame machine, etc.? 5 or 6 OEM yearly subs and short-terms as needed is a drop in the bucket compared to that. With that being said, if every body shop bought those tools tomorrow would there be qualified personnel to run them?
My biggest safety concern related to ADAS isn't the system not avoiding an accident. I think that the OEMs have made it clear this is an additional item, but ultimately the driver is expected to be responsible. Once we go fully autonomous that will change. My fear is improperly calibrated systems steering in the wrong lane on its own or a false brake application.
Good synopsis Matthew. The short answer is the OEM and the insurers want the OEM procedures followed in all collision repairs. Right now, by and large, that is not being done. That is the underbelly of all of this. One of the missions of DN is to promote better skills and encourage techs/shops/industry to up their game.
& this demonstration from I-CAR on target tolerances:
Then kindly stop posting. You posted nothing relevant,helpful or insightful to this subject. At the very least Augustine has provided industry insight. Youve done nothing but misconstrue his posts and or motives and youre not helping anyone.
Take your own advice and let it go......