Jan 13, 2021

Redefining glass

Article by Eddie Irving

Operations Manager

Belron International (parent company of PG Glass)

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In 2015, I delivered a presentation about the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in vehicles, in which I explained to the audience how in five years self-driving and other advanced vehicle technologies will improve and impact congestion on the roads. I vividly recall the questioning looks when I talked about cars talking to cars and cars talking to infrastructure – cars reading traffic signs and preventing accidents by using these technologies. Five years on many of these predictions have materialised.

The pinup of high-tech vehicles, the Tesla Model X, for example, has cameras fitted throughout the vehicle to give the computer inside, and thus the driver, a 360° view of its surroundings. The forward-facing radar can see distant objects 160 m up ahead, and ultrasonic sensors detect nearby cars to prevent potential collisions. Some of the more sci-fi-like functions include auto-park, and the vehicle auto-steering from its parked space to collect the owner who summoned the vehicle using an app. Inevitably, there have been issues with rogue cars crashing into objects but accompanying these are reports of the technology saving lives, its main intended purpose.

And it's not only Tesla introducing these technologies but most other manufacturers like BMW and Volkswagen.

As of May 2024, all new vehicles will have to be fitted with these advanced safety driving systems, as mandated by the European Union in 2019. This includes intelligent speed assistance, alcohol interlock installation facilitation, driver drowsiness and attention warning, advanced driver distraction warning, emergency stop signal, reversing detection, and event data recorder. All this means more sensors and cameras fitted throughout the vehicle, including behind the windshield.

So, what does high-end and futuristic technology have to do with glass?

Windscreens are no longer just a simple sheet of glass but rather a sophisticated piece of technology that serves as a platform for important information being shared with the driver. Replacing these expensive windshields requires the recalibration of in-car technology, specifically the camera systems installed behind the windshield.

It has become increasingly challenging for us to connect and gain access to these vehicles due to the complexity inherent in these technologies, as vehicle manufacturers install secure gateways, certificate-based seed and key encryptions, and diagnostic over internet protocol (DOIP) to prevent cybercriminals from hacking the vehicle's software.

Key encryption also necessitates that the vehicle is connected to the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) server to guarantee that the key is indeed that of the. Progress begets change and with change comes challenges.

When one of these vehicles arrives at a PG Glass for a window replacement or repair, we require a certificate from the dealership to gain access to that vehicle. The dealerships have started charging for this certificate. On top of this, we have to recalibrate the camera and then pay for a certificate to gain access to each vehicle. It is no longer a case of replacing a windscreen.

Our main goal has been to continue with in-house recalibration solutions because the alternative is that every vehicle will have to go back to the main dealer. The vehicle owner will have to pay main dealer glass prices, main dealer labour charges, main dealer recalibration fees, and main dealer charges for the seed and key encryption to these vehicles. It is not an option.

With this in mind, we have partnered with Bosch to deliver recalibration solutions at fitment centres nation-wide.

Speaking to the advisers: Keep up to date with this developing technology. Protect your policyholders by talking to PG Glass about products that can benefit your clients. Ensure that a service provider can repair the vehicle to OEM standards. Our professionals are equipped to fit these complex windscreens and see to it that the safety systems are recalibrated. Remember, it's more than just a piece of glass.

*Email the dedicated broker helpdesk on brokers@pg.co.za to request an appointment with a sales resource.

 

 

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