As new cars feature more ADAS systems, the cost of repairing vehicles following an accident is on the rise. Many companies are now finding it cheaper to write-off a car, rather than repair it because the issues of driver and passenger safety, plus the workshop time involved in checking all systems have been recalibrated to manufacturer spec make it uneconomic.
It is something that is causing problems in the established car repair network as many workshops have already signed contracts with insurers on specific hourly rates for vehicle repair. If extra time is needed to track down the data on ADAS, then check every gadget in turn, who pays for that time – and expertise? This is a problem that the insurance industry needs to address, so let’s look at some key issues involved.
Neil Atherton, Sales and Marketing Director, Autoglass® says:
“The rapid introduction of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) has the potential to keep drivers safer on the road but, in order to do this, the technology needs to be managed correctly and safely. As these technologies become more prevalent across the UK car market, the process of calculating insurance premiums becomes more complicated. Whilst the correct use and maintenance of these systems by an accredited technician should result in fewer insurance claims, the knock-on effect is a rise in claims costs for insurers as repair work has to incorporate more complex technology.
“The majority of ADAS sensors sit in easily damaged places, including the windscreen, which means that repairers need to be correctly trained to ensure that the sensors and cameras are properly recalibrated if they have been damaged. Important steps have been taken recently to provide clearer guidance on this, such as the new Insurance Industry Requirements from Thatcham Research, but it is clear that more needs to be done to make the most of ADAS technology.”
Swiss Re Platform
One insurer, Swiss Re has set up a manufacturer platform to agree common standards across the repair sector. Toyota Insurance Services1 (TIS)/ Toyota Insurance Management Europe and BMW Group have both joined this ADAS risk score platform and will, as part of the partnership, make Toyota and Lexus vehicle data available for the purpose of insurance scoring.
Thatcham Look to Set Standards on ADAS Levels By Make, Model & Spec
One big problem when repairing cars is knowing which ADAS systems were fitted as optional extras, and when. The collision avoidance system fitted to a 2017 car might not be the same as a 2019 edition. Thatcham Research is trying to persuade manufacturers to agree on ADAS spec packages by model year, and then by spec within that model. That way insurers, brokers and FNOL specialists will have a chance of understanding how many systems need to be checked, and signed off as compliant, following a repair.
More details on Thatcham’s policy proposals here by the way.
Audatex Photo Tech – Damage Triage as Part of FNOL
One way to cut costs is to save time by getting owners to upload photos of minor damage before the FNOL process really kicks in. That way, insurers know which is the best local repair shop for the job. Peugeot-Citroen has been working with Audatex on their photo imaging process, which also has the benefit of meeting Covid19 lockdown regulations too as it’s contactless. Here’s how it works;
Bodyshop Image Capture is an intelligent web application, that allows the technician to send the vehicle owner a text message request for images of their vehicle and damage immediately after the incident. With no app download needed the owner is then able to upload images of the crash damage so Repair Assessors and technicians can inspect the damage and immediately place required parts orders.
ThingCo Data Snapshot
Of course the Audatex driver photo idea isn’t the complete answer, as phone photos won’t always tell the repair specialist which ADAS systsems have – or have not – been activated/damaged during a bump. Upset drivers won’t always be able to take all the relavant photos, or spot minor folds or gaps in bodywork that betray deeper chassis damage – you can’t expect that expert, cool-headed assessment after a shunt.
But thinking ahead, maybe a detailed telematics snapshot of data gathered just before the incident could be sent over the air, rather like the ThingCo Theo system? That way, both insurer and repairer know speed, geo position on the road, braking force, airbag deployment and many other factors. Theo also connects the driver to an FNOL specialist at the scene, so a conversation can be had that provides assistance, and works as a fact-find. The more data that can be shared in the immediate aftermath, the better as reagrds understanding what systems have been affected and hwo much the likely costs could be.
The Move Project
Meanwhile the UK government is pressing on with live trials of semi-autonomous vehicles in Greenwich. Partners include The Floow, Direct Line and Jaguar Land Rover Group. The idea is to test how car radar/Lidar systems can sope with real world traffic conditions, built-up streets, road sign furniture, cyclists, pedestrians etc. By making sure that the tech can help drivers avoid accidents the repair problem may gradually ease in the medium term.