The Ethical and Legal Implications of ADAS Calibration in Autonomous Vehicles

The concept of self-driving vehicles is becoming a reality largely due to the standard inclusion of Advanced Drive-Assistance Systems (ADAS) in modern cars. These complex systems using multiple sensors such as radars are located throughout the vehicle and can include cameras mounted on the windshield and sideview mirrors, allowing autonomous vehicles to sense and respond to their environment. According to research, driver assistance technology could prevent 1.6 million crashes and 7,200 fatal crashes yearly.

Autonomous vehicles completely rely on ADAS components as they directly affect a vehicle’s ability to make quick decisions that can avert accidents. While ADAS calibrations are already a crucial part of vehicle ownership, the advent of autonomous vehicles will elevate the importance of proper calibration, especially of windshield-mounted ADAS components.

Understanding ADAS Calibration

ADAS calibration is the process of fine-tuning your vehicle's sensors, camera arrays, radar, and lidar systems. It is a crucial aspect of vehicle ownership because it ensures that your vehicle’s safety and driver-assistive features properly function at the moment they need to. This is especially important in instances when an ADAS component may have been compromised during repair procedures.

A windshield camera is one of the ADAS components that is vital because it has an unobstructed line of sight of the road. Vehicle manufacturers may recommend calibrating these cameras after replacing a windshield. Failure to follow a vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation could hinder safety features from activating when you need them most.

ADAS components enable the use of crucial safety and driver-assistive features such as:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Automatic High Beams

Now, consider the fact that autonomous vehicles won’t have drivers who can intervene in case these sensors fail. Then, ADAS calibration becomes primary to safety because these systems need to be fail-proof if autonomous vehicles are to achieve their primary purpose — to eliminate or significantly mitigate vehicle-related accidents.

Ethical Considerations

As with every new technology, ADAS presents a new set of legal and ethical challenges. While autonomous vehicles aren’t commonplace yet, the current design of driver-assistive technologies forms the foundation for the primary means of autonomy.

Overreliance on Technology

Autonomous vehicles rely entirely on ADAS for functionality. The calibration of these systems must be done correctly as vehicles will not be able to function without them.

It also follows that calibration errors will have greater — sometimes fatal — consequences without a human driver to intervene in case of system failure.

Transparency and Accountability Concerns

ADAS calibration service providers will need to work harder to earn customers' trust, given that the quality of their service significantly impacts safety. Transparency of procedure and service warranties will be more valuable than ever, especially for a service that will be considered critical, not only to vehicle safety but also for operability.

Legal Framework and Regulations

The challenge lies in the fact that current vehicle safety regulations are designed around the presumption that vehicles are driven by humans. Autonomous vehicles present a unique challenge by removing the human behind the wheel.

Final Words

The importance of proper ADAS calibration and working with reputable and reliable service providers is clear.

If you feel the need for an ADAS check-up related to your windshield or any other concerns, remember that Caliber Auto Glass is here for you. If you’re needing a glass repair, replacement and calibration, click here for a free estimate and our team will be ready to answer any additional questions.