Windscreen Replacement Firms Fighting To Keep Up With New Tech

From mechanics to auto glass mobile replacement, windscreen replacement companies are spending millions in order to keep up with the latest in vehicle tech; with funding going into the needed tools and training for the proper recalibration of screen-based car safety systems, which are becoming more and more commonplace.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like autonomous emergency braking, are typically reliant on windshield-mounted cameras in order to operate. The problem being that, when the windshield is taken for auto glass mobile replacement, they require recalibration, as they might not be able to function properly, if at all.

In the UK, about 1% of vehicles require recalibration after a windscreen replacement back in 2015, but the number has since gone up to 9% for privately-owned vehicles and 34% for fleet vehicles, the latter due to being newer.

To deal with the matter, several companies are pouring funds into calibration-related developments. National Windscreen recently invested £2 million in ADAS recalibration, while Autoglass will be launching 14 new calibration centres, on top of 70 of its workshops having calibration capability by December.

Head of Technical Superiority Belron, Autoglass’s parent company, Dr. Chris Davies explained that recalibration is required because of natural tolerance issues with glass manufacturing, which tends to reposition the cameras when a new windscreen is put in place. If the camera isn’t recalibrated it jeopardizes the safety of the customer.

Most models require ‘static’ calibration, which can be done in a workshop, while others require ‘dynamic’ calibration on the road. Both types require properly trained technicians, but the latter is much more difficult.

Davies explains that, for dynamic calibration, the vehicle must travel at a certain speed for a certain amount of time, which can be problematic in the busy UK roads, or at certain times of the year, like in winter.

He also warns that smaller windscreen companies might have trouble keeping up with technological developments, with the challenge being understanding what vehicle has what ADAS system fitted to it.

Autoglass is a major company with plenty of manpower, but Davies warns that, for small organization or a one-man band, asking how will they keep up with the latest technology, and the latest methods.