ADAS Calibration a Billion-Dollar Industry

Jacques Navant of Don’s Mobile Glass and the Calibration Station in Modesto, Calif., is not surprised at the growth impact ADAS technology is having on the AGRR industry.

In analyzing more than 10,000 windshield lookups, the windshield lookup service AutoBolt estimates that there should have been 3.8 million ADAS calibrations in the auto glass industry in 2022. According to the report’s findings, that translates to an addressable market of $959 million just in the auto glass industry. Pulling from his own experiences, Navant says that sounds about right.

“I think it’s climbing and we’re going to see more and more features included on these vehicles,” he says. “It’s going to grow and it’s going to grow fast.”

AutoBolt found a sharp uptick in the ADAS capabilities manufacturers are including in their vehicles that result in necessitated calibration. For example, while only 25% of model year 2016 vehicles required calibration following windshield replacements, that figure is forecast to jump to 89% in model year 2023 vehicles. According to the report, the evolution began in earnest in 2016, when 20 automakers agreed to include automatic emergency braking (AEB) on many vehicles by September 2022.

“As automakers rushed to fulfill the voluntary agreement, they mostly chose forward-facing cameras equipped behind the windshield as the sensor for AEB,” the report reads. “This historic agreement between automakers to improve passenger safety gave rise to a historic opportunity – and challenges – for the auto glass repair and replacement industry.”

In fact, AutoBolt found that the “vast majority of automakers” require that calibration accompany windshield replacement on vehicles from 2020 onward. For 2022 models, 11 of the 15 top manufacturers included forward-facing cameras in more than 95% of their vehicles. For 2017 models, that figure was 35%.

Luxury European manufacturers, with the exception of Mercedes, had 95% of their model year 2019 vehicles produced with forward-facing cameras. Asian manufacturers saw similar numbers, while domestic manufacturers are still lagging, according to the report.

“I think it’s fantastic for our industry because it forces us to become, perhaps, more professional than we’ve been in the past,” Navant says of the emergence of calibration. “I think it’s great because we’re almost reeducating ourselves on the way we install glass, the way we shop for glass and the way we shop for tools. It’s an exciting time.”

The collected data also showed that calibration jobs were split at 40% each with respect to static and dynamic calibrations. While the need for dual calibration is receding, according to the report, there is an emerging choice for technicians spurred by an increasing number of manufacturers requiring static or dynamic calibration.

“I think freedom is probably not the right word for it since we’re bound to the type of system decided on by the manufacturer, which decides static or dynamic,” Navant says. “Now more than ever, it’s really important for shops or even just that one guy in the truck to think about the future.”

These days, forward-facing cameras aren’t alone in their need for calibration following windshield replacement. The report points to Ford and Lincoln head-up display systems requiring calibration, as well as such displays on Mercedes vehicles. With all of these changes hitting the industry in the past decade, Navant says there are likely many shops playing catchup.

“We’re used to very little change in our industry, so this has snuck up on a lot of individuals participating in our industry,” Navant says. “Now is the time to educate your techs, educate your shop and educate your customers. If you’re a shop that thought this would be a passing thing, you’re already about five years behind. Now is the time to seek education and get on board.”

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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