The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) has created an optional technician role for repairing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technologies.
The new role will create a new career path for repair professionals and help body shops create a new revenue stream by keeping their ADAS repair work in-house, I-CAR officials said in announcing the addition.
ADAS technician becomes the ninth role included in I-CAR’s Automotive Collision Repair Industry Knowledge and Skills Protocol, joining such established industry roles as auto physical damage appraiser, estimator, refinish technician, and structural technician. The terminal and enabling objectives are detailed at the I-CAR website.
“The need for ADAS-specific technical skills and knowledge cannot be overstated and aligns with the explosive growth of highly sophisticated ADAS-equipped vehicles on the roads today, only deepening the drive for collision repair professionals to be fully prepared to perform complete, safe and quality repairs on behalf of the consumer,” Jeff Peevy, I-CAR vice president, said in a statement.
He said the new role “is a direct response to accelerating industry needs to one of the fastest-growing and most technically demanding repair considerations inside the nations’ repair shops today – and that’s ADAS repairs.”
According to CCC’s 2022 Crash Course report, figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute indicate that 60% of the vehicles on the road in the U.S. are minimally equipped with at least one ADAS feature.
That percentage is expected to continue to rise, as older vehicles without ADAS features cycle out. Twelve OEMs are ahead of schedule in meeting their voluntary pledge to equip nearly all of their light vehicles produced for the U.S. market with automatic emergency braking (AEB) by a 2022-23 target date.
John Van Alstyne, I-CAR CEO and president, said the ADAS technician role has been in development since 2019, with “critical inputs” across all segments of the inter-industry.
“As with all of I-CAR’s educational programming, we followed an intentionally robust and thorough R&D process, gathering as much input as possible from all facets of the industry – from the shop floor/technicians to our OEM and Insurance networks, to I-CAR’s expansive bench of technical Subject Matter Experts as well as our Product Development Advisory Council members – which is why we couldn’t be prouder of the output of these essential and incredibly collaborative efforts,” Van Alstyne said.
“I-CAR takes great care in defining industry roles,” he said. “Serving as the ‘de facto’ industry standard for baseline training requirements, the I-CAR Protocol further defines in detail the requisite knowledge and skills each key industry repair role must possess, in this case related to ADAS repairs.”
He said the protocol “sets the guide rails” for I-CAR Platinum credentialing, and will contribute to corresponding curriculum development, including the organization’s deep and growing ADAS portfolio.
Potential new revenue stream
Peevy said the new role could potentially create a new revenue stream for shops that want to capture more added value by repairing ADAS-equipped vehicles, rather than subletting the work.
“The new role helps to close the knowledge and skills gap for shops, while bolstering and strengthening technical proficiency of talent which in turn allows organizations to retain – versus subletting– ADAS repair work,” he said. “Shops that make a commitment to ADAS training will be head and shoulders more prepared to lead repair work in their local markets.”
“We hear increasing interest from shops who are considering moving operations in-house, including ADAS-related resourcing, to better manage cycle times as well as other gains in operational efficiencies,” Peevy said in response to a question from Repairer Driven News.
“There is a growing belief within some repairers that a credential for their techs, specific to ADAS-related technologies, can provide the structure needed to do so consistently and with confidence,” he said.
The rising volume of ADAS repairs was recently cited by Nick Pinchuk, the CEO of Snap-on Incorporated, as one of the drivers of growth for the company’s new collision repair product group.
“Big data aimed specifically at the body shop, vehicle measurements to guide body work, repair information to aid in standard shop work, and calibrations to restore the sensor networks that support ADAS or advanced driver assistance systems,” Pinchuk said in an earnings call. “It’s a combination that’s increasingly essential for every collision shop. And we believe it is going to be a big seller.”
According to a 2021 “Who Pays for What?” survey conducted by Mike Anderson of Collision Advice and the CRASH Network, 88% of insurers pay for ADAS calibration “always” or “most of the time.” The survey also found that most shops are billing for the work, with just 1.0% to 2.9% saying they never do, depending on the carrier.
Still, shops may face a challenge in getting their bill paid in full, with online forums full of concerned posts about carrier denials restricting reimbursements for both in-house and sublet costs.
Some in the industry have noted that not all ADAS calibration work required by OEMs is being done by repair shops. During a December 2021 Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) webinar, Nick Dominato, Repairify’s senior vice president of product, said that only one in three 2020 vehicles that need a calibration are actually getting one.
Dominato encouraged shops to integrate OEM procedures into their workflow. “We’ve got a huge influx of vehicles being produced with emergency braking systems” and other ADAS technologies, he said, “and the collision industry is not ready for it. We’re not up to snuff yet, and it really does matter.”
ADAS technician is an optional role for achieving I-CAR’s Gold Class recognition, and a career path that leads to Platinum status on completion of ProLevel 3 training.
Requirements will include I-CAR’s new, to-be-released capstone: a two-day ADAS Hands-On Skills Development (HOSD) course that is nearing final stages of development, I-CAR said. It said that the instructor-led course will be released in 2022 and will be taught by I-CAR experts at the new Chicago Technical Center, which is dedicated to the latest technologies affecting collision repair.
“It is a great fit for anyone interested in advanced technologies and is another path for learners to achieve Platinum while expanding knowledge and skills in a new role,” Peevy said. “And the entire ADAS course portfolio is accessible to all industry individuals who wish to understand the latest in technology, whether pursuing the new role or just interested in learning more about the cars we repair and drive.”
Fourteen ADAS courses are currently listed on the I-CAR website, and additional courses are in development, the organization said.
I-CAR is offering two ADAS course bundles at a discounted rate. Each course bundle includes three online, ADAS-focused courses designed to prepare collision repair professionals working with ADAS-equipped vehicles. Information about ADAS courses, terms and definitions, news and more can be found at i-car.com/adas.
“The new ADAS role and our growing ADAS course offerings reinforces I-CAR’s commitment to comprehensive, relevant educational programming that raises the bar for the entire inter-industry and advances our mission-based work: to equip every person in the collision repair industry with the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” Van Alstyne said.
I-CAR’s Automotive Collision Repair Industry Knowledge and Skills Protocol
Featured image: Aiming radar reflector (Provided by Subaru)
ADAS system graph provided by CCC
“Who Pays for What?” graphic provided by Mike Anderson and the CRASH Network