ADAS: Headwinds and Opportunities

Monday, July 30, 2018

By Chris Gardner, Vice President, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) 

I do not think the aftermarket industry has ever faced so many issues that represent both headwinds and tailwinds – at the same time and from the same source. Technology such as e-tailing and telematics is helping create this paradox. One of the critical areas that is presenting challenges and opportunities at the same time is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

ADAS promises to save lives and enhance the driving experience, and it no doubt will do just that. The majority of ADAS development, business won and media coverage has been for systems for new vehicles. We will see increasing numbers of vehicle platforms, models and levels (not just luxury) roll off assembly lines with ADAS functionality and complete systems. There are thousands of ADAS-equipped vehicles in the fleet already.

So, what are the headwinds and opportunities represented by wide-spread adoption of ADAS systems? The major ones are:

Headwind #1 – Servicing vehicles with ADAS capabilities requires unique and highly technical skills. It will require expensive equipment possibly per individual original equipment manufacturer (OEM). It will require dedicated space with clear lines of sight, no external moving objects, specific graphics/targets and a highly controlled environment. How many independent repair shops are willing and able to make this kind of investment to reset and recalibrate ADAS systems, which is a requirement for vehicles to operate properly on roads? Those that do not will be forced to send vehicles to another service provider to “finish the job.” 

Opportunity #1 – Individual repair shops that make the investment to be ADAS-capable will no doubt reap benefits of increased business from regular customers and from other shops that do not opt to spend the money to upgrade their capabilities. There probably will be dedicated ADAS shops launched to provide this focused and technology-intensive service.

Headwind #2 – A significant amount of focus on ADAS has originated with Tier 1 OE suppliers and technology companies. These groups are developing new innovations for new vehicle applications for short-term safety functionality and as a pre-cursor to autonomous vehicles. Aftermarket suppliers and distributors will experience challenges in competing in this space.

Opportunity #2  There is a growing number of companies that have identified a market for ADAS products that can be retrofit to existing vehicles. These products – backup cameras, blind spot detection, backup sensors, parking sensors, smart mirrors, etc. – offer a lot of promise to reducing accident-related fatalities. The adoption rate of these products will accelerate as more suppliers enter this space and as the price points decrease. Millions of vehicles in the U.S. passenger fleet can be retrofit with ADAS functionality, and this is creating new opportunities for creative aftermarket companies.

AAPEX is rapidly becoming the venue for demonstrating new technologies and learning about their eventual impact on our industry. It is an obvious venue for highlighting opportunities that ADAS is beginning to create. Two special sessions under the AAPEX ADAS Forum will be held to explore ADAS and the headwinds and opportunities it represents. The following sessions will be held on Thursday, Nov. 1.

ADAS Forum – Saving Lives through Retrofitting ADAS Existing Cars moderated by Chris Gardner, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association

ADAS Forum – Servicing ADAS-Enabled Vehicles presented by Joe Register, Auto Care Association

We are working with SEMA to explore ways the entire industry can take full advantage of ADAS, so we have collaborated to develop the direction for the ADAS Forum. SEMA is holding a similar session during its show.

Also, Link Engineering will demonstrate technology used to evaluate and calibrate ADAS systems in AAPEX’s Mobility Garage section.

There will be dozens of other education sessions, demonstrations, presentations and displays at AAPEX that will focus on emerging technologies that will help position the future aftermarket as a vibrant, innovative and influential industry. Some of the sessions include:

Tuesday Oct. 30

2019 Aftermarket Outlook presented by Nathan Shipley, NPD (also offered on Wednesday, Oct. 31)

Emerging Vehicle Technologies and their Impact on the Aftermarket presented by Evan Hirsch, Strategy&/PwC

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Dongles, Shops and CRM Applications for the Aftermarket presented by Jorge Antico, eAutoClub, Inc., and Parker Swift, MechanicAdvisor

Thursday, Nov. 1

Future Vehicle Technology: Consequences to the Aftermarket presented by Derek Kaufman, C3 Network

How Telematics is Impacting National Service Chains presented by Chris Blanchette, Bridgestone Retail Operations

If you need to understand where aftermarket technology is headed, do not miss AAPEX.

See you in Vegas!