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ADAS: Compromised Driving After Windshield Replacement?

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are increasingly common automotive safety technologies. Parking assistance, blind spot detection, emergency braking assistance, and adaptive cruise control are among the technological advancements of ADAS. They help improve the safety and comfort of drivers, passengers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. ADAS rely on a variety of cameras, sensors, radar, and lidar to detect obstacles, assess distances, and adjust the vehicle’s speed. 

A windshield replacement can compromise the ability of ADAS to function properly. Cameras and sensors are often mounted under the windshield and must be recalibrated after its replacement. It is therefore recommended to have the ADAS components recalibrated after any windshield replacement.

Understanding the camera system behind the windshield

Behind the wheel, the driver has no idea of the complexity of the elements in place. The camera mounted behind the windshield discreetly watches over the driver’s driving and instantly alerts the vehicle if a sudden obstacle is likely to cause a collision, whether it be a vehicle or an animal in the middle of the road.

How do ADAS cameras work?

ADAS cameras are typically located behind the center rearview mirror and are designed to monitor the vehicle’s external environment. These cameras capture real-time images and transmit them to the vehicle’s electronic systems, which analyze the data to provide information and alerts to the driver or trigger automated actions, such as emergency braking.

The cameras behind the windshield use advanced technologies to capture and process images. They can be equipped with CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) or CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) sensors that convert light into electrical signals. These signals are then analyzed by image processing algorithms to detect objects, vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signs, and road markings.

Role in vehicle safety

The main role of cameras behind the windshield is to improve vehicle safety by helping the driver anticipate and avoid dangerous situations. Among the safety functions provided by these cameras, we can mention:

  1. Detection of vehicles and obstacles.
  2. Recognition of traffic signs.
  3. Surveillance of blind spots.
  4. Alert for unintended lane departure.
  5. Adaptive cruise control.
  6. Automatic emergency braking.

The importance of camera recalibration for ADAS

Calibrating the windshield-mounted camera is a crucial step in ensuring the proper functioning of ADAS systems, as a large part of these technologies relies on cameras and sensors integrated into the windshield.

These cameras must be recalibrated after a windshield replacement:

  • Restoring original settings

The position of cameras and sensors may be slightly altered during windshield replacements, affecting the operation of ADAS systems. Calibration allows for restoring the original settings to ensure proper functioning of these devices.

  • Maintain vehicle safety

Correct calibration ensures that these devices function optimally and contribute to accident prevention and the safety and comfort of drivers and passengers.

  • Compliance with standards and regulations

Calibration of the windshield-mounted camera must be performed according to the manufacturer’s standards and guidelines to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Consequences of improper camera calibration

Improper camera calibration can have serious consequences on the safety and functioning of ADAS systems:

  • Braking distance error

If the camera does not detect distances correctly, emergency braking may be triggered too late, increasing the risk of accidents.

  • Poor detection of white lines

If the camera does not correctly detect road markings, lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance may be compromised, making driving more dangerous.

  • Malfunction of emergency braking

If the camera does not properly detect obstacles, automatic emergency braking may not be triggered or may trigger at an inappropriate time, with potentially serious consequences.

Calibration methods

Before proceeding with camera calibration, it is usually necessary to perform a wheel alignment check and correction to ensure that the vehicle is driving straight. Next, it is time to calibrate the onboard camera behind the windshield.

It is crucial to have a good understanding of the main calibration methods to ensure the safety and effectiveness of driver assistance systems. You can also check out a video produced by our experts that illustrates the main steps of camera calibration.

VitroPlus | Auto Guide – Calibration

  • Dynamic calibration

Dynamic calibration is performed by driving the vehicle. The technician uses specialized equipment to record camera data and adjust its settings in real time, during a specific drive with well-defined traffic and road conditions.

The advantage of this method is that it allows for camera calibration in real driving conditions. However, it requires a high level of expertise from the technician and can take longer than static calibration. At VitroPlus, our technicians have the expertise and experience necessary for such operations.

  • Static calibration

Static calibration is performed when the vehicle is stationary. The technician places specific targets or panels at a certain distance from the vehicle to calibrate the camera based on these reference points. This method is often faster than dynamic calibration.

The choice of calibration method, dynamic or static, depends on the vehicle model, manufacturer’s recommendations, and available equipment. Some vehicles require a specific method or a combination of both. It is essential to consult the vehicle’s technical manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper calibration. Only a qualified VitroPlus professional is able to perform the calibration correctly.

The expertise of professionals for successful calibration

Proper calibration of the camera is crucial for the safety and effectiveness of ADAS systems, and it depends on the accuracy and reliability of the calibration. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations and avoiding common errors during windshield replacement (using an inappropriate windshield, damaging sensors) ensures the performance of ADAS and road safety. Therefore, it is essential not to neglect this delicate operation and always entrust the replacement and calibration of the camera to our competent experts.