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Servicing vehicles with advanced safety systems

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 07:00
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If a drowsy driver is suspected, the systems typically vibrate the seat or sound an alarm or even warn the driver to get some rest – and on some vehicles even lets the driver know where to get coffee close by.

Additionally, aftermarket fatigue monitoring systems (like those used on fleet vehicles) may also monitor for “offenses” like cellphone use or “distracted driving events” and alert a dispatcher or supervisor when they occur. Most systems then generate a report, including photographs, of the offense. The camera-based systems, however, can be affected by light reflecting off of eyeglasses or safety glasses – one of our clients who installed the system on their fleet of trucks has several images of a frustrated driver flipping the middle finger at the monitor after light reflecting off his glasses caused several false activations in a row – which was not what they had in mind when they installed the system. Incidentally, the entire fleet of vehicles can also be tracked and located using an app on a cell phone.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication technology is also being developed, which would allow vehicles to communicate with each other to, among other things, prevent collisions and make driving is heavy traffic safer. Additionally, uploading and storing driving information wirelessly into the Cloud (or similar) is on the drawing board, which would allow driving information and preferences to be used by traffic management systems or even rental car companies.

And, of course, completely automated vehicles that can be operated with no driver input are being tested and used with mixed success – an interesting development indeed.

Customers and drivers may not be ready to accept and trust the upcoming technology but it’s good to know about what’s coming – because it may appear soon on a vehicle in your service bay and it’s good to be prepared.


Privacy and cyber security issues aside, there are definitely ways to prevent causing problems when servicing vehicles with advanced safety systems that are widely used on so many vehicles – and it’s not hard to do at all.

Checking the basics like ensuring that tire sizes and pressures are in accordance with manufacturer specs, sensors are clean, all lighting works, and that brakes and steering systems operate without problems has always been essential, it’s just even more so now. And, as ever, avoid poor quality parts (especially replacement glass).

There’s no substitute for alert, non-distracted driving and solid driving skills – after all, the driver is still responsible for controlling the vehicle – but there are systems that try to compensate for brief lapses in judgement and sudden changes in driving conditions to minimize damage and injuries, and it’s important to know how to service those vehicles without affecting any advanced safety systems and also to be ready for what’s coming next.

Because until automated technicians are developed and implemented you’ll still need to think ahead and be mindful in order to prevent problems from ever developing – which is a challenge you’ll definitely be ready for with a bit of preparation.

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