ADAS technology contributes to 32% rise in vehicle repair costs

Thatcham Research, AEB, autonomous emergency braking.

Thatcham has formed a working group with vehicle manufacturers to urgently address spiralling repair costs associated with collision avoidance advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

According to statistics from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) from Q3 2016, average vehicle bills have increased by 32% over the last three years to £1,678.

Andrew Miller, Thatcham chief technology officer, said that while ADAS may not account for the entire increase, it is definitely a major contributor. This is through the need for additional training and specialist equipment. 

He added: “Cars are only getting more complex and the repair of sensors, cameras and automated vehicles will mean this problem will continue to grow.”

John Pryor, chairman of fleet operators association ACFO, agreed that ADAS on new vehicles is becoming an issue, with anecdotal evidence suggesting an increase in downtime and costs for fleets.

He said: “We have heard of vehicles that are off the road for longer due to the availability and complexity of parts.

“Windscreens have been a problem for some members with downtime affected due to not being able to get the right sensors, or they don’t have the right screen as there are 10 different types. It is getting crazy. The more complex cars become the more difficult this will be.”

Miller said windscreens are proving to be a particular problem, due to them having to be recalibrated after repair to make sure complex sensors and screen-mounted cameras are operating correctly.

He said: “The message is that there needs to be an open dialogue between manufacturers, fleets and insurers around this subject. We have already established a working group to discuss the cost of ADAS repairs.

“Part of the solution could be agreeing to lower pricing on parts and repairs to help stabilise the rising costs.”

While costs may be increasing, Miller said fleets should not let this put them off adopting new technologies due to the increase in safety and vehicle downtime they can provide. 

He said: “The data we have seen around automatic emergency braking (AEB) is that it can help with up to a 40% reduction in frequency of front and rear crashes.” 

As a result some insurers are passing on discounts to fleets that have vehicles with AEB fitted.

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