ADAS and More

As the CEO of Opus IVS and a candidate for the SEMA board, I aim to address a pressing issue affecting our industry: the evolving landscape of vehicle customization amidst advancements in automotive technology. 

The Problem

Lack of Calibration Standards

There's a need for transparent vehicle tolerance limits and standardized calibration procedures to accommodate modifications while ensuring ADAS effectiveness.

Customization Challenges

Modifications such as raising/lowering vehicles, changing wheel sizes, or repainting can interfere with ADAS functionality, potentially compromising safety.

Evolution of ECU Tuning

Historically, ECU tuning allowed enthusiasts to modify vehicle performance. However, misuse and disregard for regulations led to government intervention, significantly reducing this market segment.

Rise of ADAS Technology

The advent of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) introduces a new challenge. Federal mandates require new vehicles to incorporate ADAS for safety, impacting aftermarket customization.

The Solution

Transparent Tolerance Limits

OEMs should provide access to vehicle calibration parameters, enabling aftermarket adjustments for customization like wheel sizes and ride heights.

Design for Modification

Vehicles should be engineered with customization in mind, fostering compatibility with aftermarket parts and minimizing conflicts with ADAS systems.

Updated Service Procedures

Service guidelines should acknowledge customization and outline procedures for recalibration post-installation of aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket Calibration Expertise

Aftermarket modifiers must be equipped to perform ADAS recalibrations, requiring access to OE diagnostic tools and service information.

Importance of Right to Repair
for all SEMA Members

Diagnostic Access

Right to Repair legislation ensures aftermarket technicians have access to necessary diagnostic tools and information for ADAS calibration.

Addressing Secure Gateways

Manufacturers' restrictions on diagnostic access hinder aftermarket calibration efforts, necessitating legislation to ensure fair access.

Global Legal Developments

The European Court of Justice's ruling against secure gateways underscores the importance of addressing diagnostic access on a global scale.

The Step Forward

Industry Advocacy

Continued support for Right to Repair legislation and open dialogue with automakers and regulators to facilitate customization-friendly technology.

Access Assurance

Ensuring fair access to vehicles with secure gateways for ADAS diagnostics and calibrations.

Standards Adoption

Adoption of SAE standards for calibration procedures, customization capabilities, and self-testing of ADAS systems.

Education and Awareness

Educating vehicle customizers on ADAS technology and promoting parts and installation practices compatible with ADAS systems.

Other SEMA Opportunities

While ADAS systems and being locked out of modern vehicles is the primary concern I see, I also feel there are several other industry issues that SEMA could tackle:

Electronic Coding of Vehicle Parts
  • Challenge: Increasingly, automakers are electronically coding parts specifically to a vehicle, citing theft prevention. This restricts the reuse of parts from totaled vehicles, filling junkyards with potentially usable parts that are rendered useless, escalating environmental waste and forcing owners to purchase new parts.
  • Opportunity: Advocate for regulations or solutions that balance theft prevention with the need for part reuse. Develop SEMA-endorsed guidelines or certifications for aftermarket parts that ensure compatibility and security without compromising reusability and affordability.
ADAS Systems have no health status
  • Challenge: There is no way to know if ADAS Systems are working correctly or have been calibrated properly. We also don’t have a standard for repairers to know ADAS Calibration envelopes.
  • Opportunity: I have proposed to the SAE that we develop an ADAS readiness monitor standard. Similar to ODB readiness that was developed in the 90’s, ADAS systems should have a monitor that is set when the system completes self tests to ensure it’s calibrated and operating properly. The SAE is considering this now, but could use reinforcement from SEMA and other industry associations to move it forward. In addition, we need a standard for dimensions, floor level, lighting, and other calibration envelopes so we can build the right infrastructure to calibrate these vehicles. Contact me to get a copy of the proposal.
Inclusivity of Small Shops at SEMA Shows
  • Challenge: Small shops find it difficult to participate in the main SEMA show due to high costs, crowded spaces, and complex logistics.
  • Opportunity: Introduce regional, more accessible SEMA events that cater specifically to small shops and individual members. These smaller events should focus on lowering participation costs and simplifying logistics, encouraging broader participation and visibility for grassroots members.
Engagement with Grassroots and Enthusiasts
  • Challenge: There’s a perception that SEMA is mainly a commercial trade show and not sufficiently connected with grassroots communities.
  • Opportunity: Enhance direct communication and involvement with racers and grassroots enthusiasts through regular updates, featured stories, and community-focused initiatives. Establish a dedicated platform for these communities to share their experiences, challenges, and achievements.
Strengthening SEMA's Industry Position in Advocacy and Lobbying
  • Challenge: The automotive aftermarket faces fragmented representation in legislative matters, with multiple groups lobbying for access to vehicle information crucial for parts, service, repair, and modification.
  • Proposal: Position SEMA as the leading lobbying entity for the automotive aftermarket by consolidating advocacy efforts and focusing on critical legislative issues. Increase funding for these initiatives by optimizing revenue streams from trade shows and other sources. Develop a unified strategy that aligns all stakeholders within the industry, enhancing SEMA’s influence and effectiveness in government relations and policy-making. This centralized approach will streamline advocacy, ensuring a coherent and powerful voice in legislative arenas.
Focusing on Core Competencies
  • Challenge: SEMA engages in a broad range of activities, which may dilute focus from its core strengths.
  • Opportunity: Conduct a comprehensive review to clearly define SEMA’s core competencies. Streamline or phase out activities that do not align with these core areas. Focus on strengthening SEMA’s role in vehicle customization advocacy, aftermarket support, and industry innovation.
Engaging the Next Generation of Enthusiast
  • Challenge: There is a need to attract and engage the next generation of vehicle enthusiasts and professionals.
  • Opportunity: Develop initiatives aimed at youth engagement, such as educational programs, apprenticeships, and interactive events that showcase the excitement and potential of vehicle customization. Promote “SEMA Compliant” standards for vehicles that are conducive to modifications and customizations.
Career Pathways for Youth
  • Challenge:Many young individuals are not suited for traditional college paths but have potential in technical and innovative fields within the automotive industry.
  • Opportunity: Partner with SEMA member businesses to create pathways into the automotive aftermarket. This could include formal programs, vocational training, and mentorship opportunities that highlight the value and opportunities within the industry.

My Contribution

Standards Development

Active involvement in SAE task forces shaping automotive diagnostics standards.

Right to Repair Advocacy

Contribution to the drafting and support of Right to Repair legislation, including the 2020 Massachusetts law addressing secure gateway access.

Industry Engagement

Collaboration with autocare and OEMs to advocate for fair access to diagnostic information and tools.

As SEMA board member, I will continue to champion these initiatives, ensuring the aftermarket industry thrives in the era of advanced automotive technology.
Watch below for a detailed history of Right to repair, which I have been involved with since 2009 by advocating for it and also creating some of the specific language that is in today’s laws.