Though advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) technology is certain to reduce automotive accidents and make for safer roads, there may be a price to pay. According to research released recently by the American Automobile Association (AAA), vehicles equipped with ADAS-based safety features can cost considerably more to repair following a collision than their non-ADAS counterparts. The main reason? Expensive sensors and their calibration requirements for such functions as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems. The AAA discovered that the repair bill for an ADAS-equipped car involved in a minor front- or rear-end collision could end up as high as $5,300, while the same repairs for a car without the ADAS technology might cost closer to $2,200.
Not every automotive mechanic station is equipped to handle repairs on ADAS-based systems—it’s typically the realm of new-car dealers. However, some automobile dealers have not kept pace with the repair and maintenance requirements for the various radar and ultrasonic systems used for increased safety in advanced automotive vehicles.
The AAA’s research warns that, although ADAS technology will ultimately mean safer roads and highways, and likely lower insurance costs for ADAS-equipped vehicles, the repair costs for such vehicles will be greater than the overall monetary savings gained from preventing accidents. Much of the ADAS equipment simply does not work effectively at slower speeds and will not prevent low-speed collisions. That could result in higher automotive insurance rates for drivers of both ADAS-equipped and non-ADAS-equipped vehicles, possibly for as long as the next decade of ADAS technology.
See “Auto Safety Features Raise Repair Costs,” IEEE Spectrum, North America, December 2018, pp. 12-13.