- Helping you drive happy

Windshield Calibration and You: See the Future Clearer

*in collaboration with UniGlassPlus

Guess what drivers?! The future of driving is here! What’s more, it’s now standard on almost all makes and models!

If you’ve never heard of an advanced driver assistance system (Or ADAS), then you probably haven’t bought a new car recently.

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about ADAS, some of the different types out there and the importance of windshield calibration to keep these systems performing well.

What Is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)?

First off, ADASs are systems installed in your car that bring both added safety and convenience to the driving experience. They do things like alert you if the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead is too short, or automatically brakes to avoid a collision.

These types of systems started coming into the mainstream in the early 2010s. One of the more popular systems was included in the 2013 Cadillac ATS.

2013 Cadillac ATS
2013 Cadillac ATS

The ADAS included was a vibrating seat warning when a driver started to drift into a neighbouring lane.

ADAS makes driving easier and safer.  Nowadays they are pretty commonplace in almost all new vehicles. And the technology is only getting better!

However, since ADAS are becoming standard, they are permanently changing the automotive landscape in terms of how we interact with our vehicles and automotive autonomy. According to a recent Economist article, the Society of Automotive Engineers has defined different levels of automotive autonomy. Vehicles with ADAS are at Level 2 of the autonomy hierarchy. Level 1 includes vehicles with very basic assistance features, such as cruise control, while level 3 vehicles are self-driving, self-monitoring and only need human intervention from time to time.

Different Types of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

There are many different kinds of ADAS out there and as automotive technology continues to evolve, many more to come! Here are some of the systems most commonly used by vehicle manufacturers now:

●    LKA: Lane Keep Assist: This handy system is intended to keep the vehicle in the centre of its lane. It notifies the driver if it inadvertently departs or changes lanes without indication. What's more, should the vehicle continue to drift, the system initiates a corrective steering response to bring the vehicle back within its lines.

●    LDW: Lane Departure Warning System: One of the first ADASs offered on the market, this system alerts the driver when the vehicle unintentionally leaves a detected lane when the turn signal has not been activated. This type of warning is delivered by a vibration through the driver’s seat or steering wheel.

●    FCA: Forward Collision Alert: The FCA is an alert system that informs the driver (visually and/or audibly) that the distance of the vehicle ahead is too short and that there is a risk of collision.

●    CMBS: Collision Mitigation Braking System: This system offers the same functions as the collision alert. It triggers a visual and/or audible warning enabling the driver to take the necessary measures. However, this system goes a step further. In the event that the system detects an impending collision, the vehicle will automatically apply the brakes to avoid it.

●    ACC: Adaptive Cruise Control: Cruise control is an excellent feature.  Nevertheless, at some point, especially when coming across a little highway congestion, you’re going to have to use the brakes and then reset it. But not anymore with this ADAS! Adaptive cruise control automatically adapts the speed of your vehicle to keep a safe distance with the vehicle in front of it.

How does an ADAS work?

These systems work in part thanks to a camera mounted to the windshield. This means that your windshield takes on an even more important role than before (if protecting you and reinforcing the rest of your car weren’t enough...). These cameras rely 100% on a precise installation and calibration to ensure they are accurately detecting the environment outside your car.

If installed improperly, they won’t work as they should or worse, could become a safety hazard to the driver. That’s why it is crucial to recalibrate the camera after a windshield repair or windshield replacement.

How Does a Dashboard Camera Differ From an ADAS Windshield Camera?

Dash cams are generally mounted behind rear view mirrors and are fairly simple to install in a vehicle yourself. As they are attached to a part of your car that gets moved around from time to time, they can be easily adjusted and don’t require a professional.

Installing and calibrating ADAS windshield cameras, though, must be done by professionals. Because your safety depends on it, precision is paramount with these systems. If the angles of your camera are off, even slightly, a system that is intended to help you could lead you astray and cause you to have an accident.

When it comes to dash cam features, there are a very limited number of basic ADAS features available. For a full range of advanced driver assistance systems you will need a specialized, fully-integrated camera.

Two Types of ADAS Calibration

There are 2 types of calibration procedures that are used and they can vary from one vehicle to another. Depending on the make/model or year of your vehicle, it may require a static, a dynamic calibration or a combination of both called universal calibration. This type of work should not be done outside of a qualified garage, as it requires specialized tools and ADAS-certified technicians.

Static Calibration

Static calibration is done in-store and in a controlled environment. At UniglassPlus, we have specially outfitted garages that allow our certified technicians to perform camera calibration and a range of other tests. We use a number of electronic devices, such as a laser that obtains absolute precision, while respecting the predetermined standards of the car manufacturers.   

Dynamic Calibration

Dynamic calibration works with a portable electronic device directly plugged into the vehicle's OBD II Port. Calibration is performed according to the manufacturer's instructions, such as driving at a prescribed steady speed for a specified distance and under favourable weather conditions.           

Universal Calibration

Universal calibration is a combination of both static and dynamic calibrations,  performed to ensure the highest calibre of calibration for your vehicle’s ADAS.

How much does it cost to have my windshield camera calibrated?

The cost of calibration varies depending on the type of calibration required. However, the good news is most insurers* will cover the cost of calibration if you are insured for broken glass. To find out more about specific pricing contact your local UniglassPlus store and they will be able to inform you if your vehicle requires a camera calibration.

When pricing out a windshield repair, replacement or calibration, don’t just trust anyone! Remember, these systems are set up to ensure your safety and can be dangerous if installed poorly. That is why it is important to entrust the work to a certified specialist.

For more information about windshield calibration or to make an appointment, contact your local UniglassPlus location.

* May vary by provincial law and your insurance policy.