Autoglass, in partnership with Brake, the road safety charity, brought together key industry figures at a roundtable earlier this year to discuss how fleet operators can maximise the safety benefits of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and seek solutions to some of the challenges facing the motor industry.
The event, held at Belron International headquarters in Surrey, featured a panel of representatives from Autoglass, Belron, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and Air Products, who engaged in a lively discussion about the impact of ADAS on the fleet, bodyshop repair, automotive and insurance industries.
Delegates in the audience included representatives from Yorkshire Water, Network Rail, Mercedes-Benz, BT Openreach, EPYX, FM Conway, Travis Perkins, ARI Fleet UK, Licence Bureau and Willis Towers Watson.
The discussion highlighted the importance of ADAS and the wide-range of safety features already available, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning systems (LDW). Delegates also discussed the speed at which these technologies have been introduced to the market, raising questions around how to maximise the safety benefits for drivers and other road users, and minimise any potential risks.
The debate was chaired by Chris Willocks, corporate partnership manager at Brake, which has been working with Autoglass since 2013 to spread important messages about road safety.
Dr Chris Davies, head of technical research and innovation at Autoglass, said that he had never seen a period of change as “dramatic and fast-paced” as the last five years for the automotive industry. In response to this change, Davies called on the government to take more responsibility for regulating and educating the motor industry about new vehicle technology available, a sentiment which was echoed by other fleet managers in the room.
Jeremy Rochfort, national sales manager at Autoglass, outlined the elements of ADAS that are frequently overlooked, highlighting the duty of care that bodyshops have to their customers to ensure that ADAS is calibrated correctly after any work on a vehicle. He talked about how fleet managers are often unaware of the capabilities of their bodyshop supply network and outlined how the new Total Calibration solution from Autoglass can help bodyshops and repairers across the UK to provide a complete solution for ADAS diagnostic, coding and calibration.
Steve Scofield, head of business development at the IMI, discussed the need for greater corporate responsibility to close the skills gap across the industry, and the benefits of the IMI’s ADAS accreditation scheme. Guest speaker Graham Hall, European logistics manager at Air Products, talked about a new app designed to monitor risky driving indicators and rank individual journeys according to how safe the driver has been. The app tracks driving performance over time and could – Hall said – encourage the uptake of ADAS technology by demonstrating its safety benefits.
From the roundtable discussion, it’s clear that the ADAS market needs to be streamlined and this will become increasingly important as the technology becomes ever more present on our roads. Vehicle technology such as ADAS is crucial to helping prevent crashes that result in death and serious injury, but the technology needs to be regulated properly, drivers need to be educated in how to use it and understand its benefits, and the industry needs to work together to ensure the technology is reliable and managed correctly.
Brake has published guidance for fleet managers about using vehicle technology to improve fleet safety, choosing the safest vehicles with ADAS technology and vehicle maintenance and mechanics under the Global Fleet Champions imprint. Global Fleet Champions is a global campaign to reduce crashes and pollution caused by work vehicles. Find out more at globalfleetchampions.org.