Known as “San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California’s Diagnostic Experts” TechZone in Concord, CA has been providing technical services for Mike’s Auto Body for the past 14 years. During that time, both companies have flourished and expanded their territories.
As automotive technology has changed dramatically over the years, TechZone has been able to pivot when needed and provide continued top-shelf services to companies like us. ADAS is the most important technology for self-driving cars and, as a result, it has become one of the fastest-growing automotive electronics segments in the world.
By staying on the cutting-edge and positioning itself as a leading expert when it comes to airbags and ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems), TechZone President Matt Patterson has seen this industry change in many ways, most of which revolve around ADAS.
ADAS refers to a combination of electrical systems that are focused on automating and improving all of the vehicle’s other systems to ensure better, safer driving. It includes a mix of 12 technologies that primarily work using three types of sensors: RADAR, LiDAR, and CAMERA.
Patterson has changed as car technology has changed. “Back when we started, our main focus was on airbags, but now we have to deal with literally every computer-related part of the vehicle,” he said. “At first, we were hired to work on airbags, repair harnesses and doing dashboard installations.”
Today, TechZone’s crew visits all of Mike’s locations to handle diagnostics, perform light clears and wiring repairs right in our shop’s bays. Patterson and his team visit our locations to troubleshoot and re-calibrate adaptive features that automate lighting, provide adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance, pedestrian crash avoidance mitigation (PCAM), incorporate satnav/traffic warnings, alert driver to other cars or dangers, lane departure warning system, automatic lane centering, show what is in blind spots, or connect to smartphones for navigation instructions.
Mike’s Director of Marketing Dane Dearlove discusses his company’s relationship with TechZone and the value they bring to the team. “At Mikes Auto Body, we are constantly doing everything possible to stay on top of all technological changes made by the car manufacturers,” he said. “The pace of change has sped up dramatically, especially with the addition of the new substrates being used and the safety systems being added as standard features. To stay up to date completely, we look for strong technical partners who bring a level of expertise that is needed. TechZone fits perfectly in to that category for us.”
Although inventors and car manufacturers began experimenting with airbag designs as early as the 1950s, it wasn’t until the mid-1970s that they were widely used in passenger vehicles in the United States. Frontal airbags have been required in all new passenger vehicles since the 1999 model year.
When an accident occurs, the crash sensors measure the impact. If it is severe enough, the sensors signal the inflators to fill up with gas. The bag bursts at a maximum of 200 mph in a fraction of a second. That’s faster than a blink of an eye!
From 1987 to 2012, frontal airbags saved 39,976 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, they reduced driver deaths by 29 percent and those of passengers 13+ by 30 percent. Side airbags have saved 2,252 lives as of 2012.
Carmakers are constantly developing new ways to use airbags and that’s why TechZone has to stay on top of the technology to be an industry leader. “Some vehicles now have inflatable seatbelts, dual front airbags, front-center airbags, seat cushion airbags, curtain airbags and external hood airbags, Patterson said.
Dual front airbags are two separate airbags while a dual-stage airbag is a single airbag, and typically dual-stage is deployed for the driver side. When the frontal airbags are to deploy, a signal is sent to the inflator unit within the airbag control unit. An igniter starts a rapid chemical reaction generating primarily nitrogen gas (N2) to fill the airbag making it deploy through the module cover.
In today’s world of collision repair, companies like ours will need more and more technical support and that’s why we will be well ahead of the game by working with a company like TechZone Automotive Technical Solutions in Concord, CA.