Thatcham gathers international expertise

Automotive research and repair experts from around the globe met together in the heart of England this week to discuss some of the burning issues affecting the automotive and insurance industries worldwide.

As the UK’s insurer research centre, Thatcham hosted delegates from 24 international research organisations as the annual RCAR (Research Council for Automobile Repair) conference got underway in Stratford-upon-Avon. A global association of like-minded, automotive research centres, the RCAR conference provides the ideal forum for its members to come together and share their vital work in a bid to improve vehicle safety and security worldwide and to discuss the impact of modern technology on vehicle repair.

After a brief welcome from Thatcham’s Chief Executive Peter Shaw and RCAR’s Secretary General Wilf Bedard, Day 1 was dominated by discussions on the development and testing of autonomous vehicles, in particular the performance of AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) systems and their impact on insurance.

Day Two centred on repair challenges, in particular those brought about by ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). At the end of this session, the conference concluded that in future vehicle manufacturers should be encouraged to ensure ADAS systems which are brought to market require no further calibration during windscreen replacement.

Other highlights from across the week-long conference included a look at the challenges resulting from increased vehicle complexity as well as the use of advanced materials and whether new designs in vehicles are resulting in more expensive vehicle repair. Thatcham’s Andy Walker shared the findings from the Golf VII repair validation project, whilst AXA Winterthur’s Bettina Zahnd presented on the use of data recording in cars.

Thatcham’s chief technical officer, Andrew Miller, who co-chaired the conference, said, ‘It’s a real pleasure for Thatcham to host our colleagues from RCAR this year at a conference that demonstrates international cohesion at its best.  I’ve been delighted with the wide ranging, thought provoking material we’ve viewed this week, which provides an excellent foundation for ongoing collaboration.’