SEMA News—March 2023

SEMA Garages Help Members Keep Pace With Advanced Technology

SEMA GarageAutomotive technology is advancing on a wide variety of fronts and at an accelerating pace. For our industry, these advancements represent both hurdles and opportunities. To give members a leg up as they work with the newest generation of vehicles, the association has built two SEMA Garages, located in Diamond Bar, California, and Plymouth, Michigan. They are the only known facilities of their kind, gateways to the information, high-tech equipment, and expert services needed to support new and existing companies as they develop new products. In addition to offering scanning, 3-D printing, an extensive CAD data library, emissions testing, engineering software and vehicle measuring opportunities, the Garage staffs are now building capacity on two important, fast-moving fronts.

The growing implementation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can be considered one of the most pressing new technological challenges. Discovering how to repair and recalibrate these popular systems has become a priority in the vehicle repair industry, and a growing need among customizers and installers. To address the situation, the newly built Detroit-area facility offers a 5,000-sq.-ft. ADAS testing and calibration facility where manufacturers can access OEM-level equipment and processes. In order to make the biggest impact, staff is working with an industry ADAS advisory council to help prioritize research and select specific ADAS topics for study. This spring, results of recalibration research and dynamic track testing on a common ADAS scenario—a lifted and leveled pickup, with tires—will be published in a white paper, a new tool to help manufacturers and installers customize without compromising OEM systems.

While it’s clear that the internal combustion engine will be around for the foreseeable future, it’s also evident that electrification in the automotive sector presents a growing opportunity. Last year’s 21,000-sq.-ft. SEMA Electrified display at the Show in Las Vegas featured 61 exhibits, up from 10 the prior year and just a handful the year before. In the recent past, the only option to convert a vehicle to electric propulsion was to use salvaged parts. Now there are entire crate retrofit packages available over the counter, in stock today. Connections to discover vendors in the sector and learn basic electrical theory info—about component matching, battery pack sizing, inverter options—can be made through the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar.

The larger Detroit-area facility has attracted OEM-level participation on the electrification front, as OEM electric vehicle manufacturers have already begun using the performance dyno—one of two in the facility—to develop range estimates for their upcoming products. Meanwhile, emissions work is ongoing. The Detroit emissions dyno and lab, already providing SEMA Certified emissions testing for EPA purposes, is expected to receive California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification in the spring. The two Detroit dynos were built to accommodate demand for testing of diesel and all-wheel-drive powertrains, and relieve a bottleneck of reputable emissions test facilities. The Diamond Bar emissions lab, in operation since 2015, has been running multiple shifts and has been instrumental in gaining over 600 CARB Executive Order approvals on behalf of industry manufacturers.

The SEMA Garages are available to help members innovate, and to stay ahead of advanced technological challenges that touch nearly every segment of the performance aftermarket. To learn more and access to Garage equipment and services, visit