Six Disruptions the Auto Glass Industry Faces
By Rebecca J. Barnabi
Technology and vehicles are on the same road hurling toward each other with increasing speed into the future.
Is the industry ready for this partnership or the collision? Frank Terlep, CEO of Autotechcelerators and author of Auto Industry Disruption, has more than 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and can answer that very question.
Terlep introduced six trends and technologies interrupting the auto glass and insurance industries during a keynote speech at Auto Glass Week in June. “By the way, it’s not just those two segments. Most of the auto industries are being disrupted by some of these technologies,” Terlep said.
Meet the Disruptors
The six major trends Terlep focused on unsettling the auto industry:
1. New vehicle technologies;
3. Electric vehicles (EVs);
5. Connected cars and big data; and
6. Artificial intelligence.
Here’s a look at each one.
1. New Vehicle Technologies
ADAS, telematics, new glass types and usage, intelligent glass, Heads-Up Display (HUDs) and cybersecurity are new vehicle technologies expected to disrupt the industry, according to Terlep.
It’s predicted that ADAS will be installed on 97 percent of all new vehicles in 2022. “Most of the manufacturers today are ahead of that goal,” Terlep said.
In the future, new vehicles will sense lane departure, have night vision, have front object closed circuit display (CCD) cameras, front airbag sensors, nighttime pedestrian warning, driver drowsiness sensors, blind spot protection, rear object monitoring, cross traffic alert, collision sensor and much more.
Terlep asked the audience: “Where could there be damage that does not affect an electronic sensor component? Not many [places].”
Terlep said technicians will have difficulty being experts on all the new ADAS components, and collision repair costs will increase because of the cost of safety equipment. He predicts data fusion for automated driving will almost double between 2020 and 2030.
“Nine years from now, it’s going to be LIDAR. It’s going to be infrared cameras. It’s going to be other technologies that you don’t see on the road today. It’s going to be a very different vehicle in 2030,” Terlep said. Telematics are in most new vehicles today, and this technology shares data between the vehicle and the manufacturer. “And, basically, it’s going to change the way the business operates as well,” Terlep said.
“This is going to change the way vehicles are updated. It’s going to make the vehicles stay in the field longer,” Terlep said. Updates will come straight from the manufacturer, not the dealer. Vehicles are turning into a computer on wheels, which means software on wheels.”
Vehicles will be able to diagnose the first sign of a problem in the system. Certification for technicians will change greatly, but also create opportunities, Terlep predicts.
New glass types will be in windshields, roofs, front sidelites, rear sidelites, backlites and bulkheads. He cited Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which is already used on iPhones. Terlep said Corning predicts a 50 percent reduction in windshield replacements.
“This is really cool stuff, I think,” Terlep said of Intelligent Glass, which will have the capability to change the amount of visible light transmittance [tint] as the driver approaches the vehicle and reduce heat in the vehicle. Windows will darken before sunlight blinds the driver, therefore providing further safety precautions. Shading can be controlled by the driver.
“That’s going to change your business dramatically,” Terlep said. Windows will be software-driven, and technicians will have to be familiar with the software components. Terlep said he knows most of the audience is familiar with Heads Up Displays (HUDs). More features will be available in HUDs, and will require more space in windshields to accommodate.
“This is going to grow dramatically over the next five years,” Terlep said.
“The last piece of new vehicle technology that’s going to affect this industry at all is cybersecurity, i.e. hacking of vehicles,” Terlep said. Chrysler was the first automotive maker to be hacked in 2015. Nissan is now working on a security system against this. “They’re scared to death of people getting access to the safety systems. Forget the diagnostics,” Terlep said.
If the ADAS does not work, an automotive maker could be sued, so automakers are starting to include software in vehicles that will protect the ADAS.
“Your vehicles are going to have a network just like an office network, you’re going to have a main CPU in the vehicle which will be taking in all the information from all of the sensors and then making decisions about what the vehicle is supposed to do,” Terlep said. This is called sensor fusion.
Calibration will continue to require increased documentation. Terlep encouraged audience members to familiarize themselves with the Auto Glass Safety Council’s (AGSC) ADAS recalibration checklist. “It’s a set of standards, that, to me, this is the minimum,” Terlep said. “These are the things you should be doing if you are doing calibration.”
Terlep pointed out that what he finds interesting about the AGSC’s standards is the necessity for a pre-calibration scan and a post-calibration scan. He mentioned calibration requirements from Safelite AutoGlass as well.
According to what he read of Safelite’s requirements, Terlep said if technicians do not document on paper calibrations, they will not get paid for their work. “I’ll beat this into everybody I talk to: documentation, documentation, documentation. You can’t have enough documentation.” He tells technicians to document every calibration as if they are going to court tomorrow, including who did what to the vehicle.
Terlep offered five tips to aid members of the industry to weather the coming new technology: 1. become an expert on ADAS; 2. get into the calibration business; 3. become the best in your market; 4. become an expert at ADAS documentation; and 5. make it easy for customers to do business with you.
3. Electric Vehicles (EVs)
Electric vehicles will become popular, according to Terlep, and by 2035, will constitute 30 to 40% of vehicles on the roads. “But, there’s good news,” he said. “One of the things about EVs is they’re going to be owned longer [by the vehicle owner].”
And they will have more glass than gas-powered vehicles. “You’re going to have a bigger opportunity with EVs when it comes to glass because it’s going to be more on the vehicle and bigger pieces of glass.” And because vehicle owners will own an EV longer, auto glass technicians will make more money replacing glass in each vehicle over a more extended period of time.
“But, I’m going to say it again. If you’re going to survive, you’re going to have to diversify,” Terlep said. Opportunities will be available for auto glass shops to explore options beyond auto glass services.
COVID-19 shook the auto insurance industry in March 2020. However, within three months, remote operations took over. “So that business has changed forever,” Terlep said. The insurance industry will continue to be affected by big data, working from home, cybersecurity, customers’ electronic payments, and much more. Virtual claims are already beginning to trend in the auto insurance industry.
“That means more and more insurers are moving to take a picture, write an estimate, without a person being involved and using images to write estimates,” he said. He added the estimates are far from being accurate, but the trend is starting.
Terlep said artificial intelligence will be used to total vehicles at some point. AI will assess images of a car after a collision and make the decision to total the vehicle or make repairs.
5. Connected Cars and Big Data
“As we put more software into cars, we put more ECUs [Engine Control Units] or VCMs [Vehicle Control Modules] or whatever you want to call them into cars, they’re also putting in modems in all the vehicles today,” Terlep said.
The typical connected vehicle today generates 25,000 gigabytes in data, while consumers in an average day generate just over 900 megabytes in data, including navigation and streaming music.
“So today’s connected vehicles are generating a ton of data,” Terlep said. This means that where data exists, business opportunities are available.
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is machine learning based upon repetitive data input, and Terlep said it’s going to be everywhere. “It’s everywhere already and you probably don’t know it,” Terlep said. AI is already included in banking, security and iPhones. “And more and more AI is being put into vehicles,” he added.
According to Terlep, AI will affect “every aspect of the automotive and glass industry. Every aspect. Whatever you do every day, ultimately, sooner or later artificial intelligence is going to affect what you do.” AI will create jobs in some cases, improve job performance for others, and in other areas will eliminate jobs.
Visit the Digital Edition for Enhanced Content
Go to agrrmag.com/digital and click on the September/October issue to see a clip of Terlep’s presentation held during Auto Glass Week. Look for the photo with the play button in the article.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.