Autonomous braking systems to be assessed by Euro NCAP

Euro NCAP is to start assessing autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems in its star rating from 2014. 

The announcement follows a report published by the automotive safety assessment organisation on the availability of AEB in Europe.

According to Euro NCAP, real-world performance data suggests AEB systems can reduce accidents by up to 27 per cent. Although the introduction of these active safety technologies is reducing road deaths and injuries, the availability of AEB in Europe is not standardised.

According to a statement, Euro NCAP’s survey reveals that AEB is completely unavailable on 79 per cent of the car models on sale in Europe and that 66 per cent of manufacturers do not offer an AEB system on any of their new car models. 

AEB systems can help to avoid crashes or to mitigate their severity by warning the driver and supporting the braking response and/or by applying the brakes independently.

The technology generally uses forward-looking radar, lidar and video systems to provide a complete, accurate, real-time image of the road ahead. 

Euro NCAP found that Volvo, Infiniti and Mercedes have the best levels of standard AEB fitment and are joined by Jaguar, Range Rover, Audi and Lexus when optional fit is also considered.

Cars in the executive and large-family categories have the highest level of availability, at least as an option.

However, some volume-sector manufacturers are showing that AEB can be offered as standard or as an affordable option on mass-market vehicles.

Among others, Mazda, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen are selling AEB systems partly as standard or optional on some high-volume cars such as the Mazda CX-5, the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic and the VW up!. It is understood that Fiat will also make AEB a low-cost option on the new Panda in July 2012.

AEB systems are increasingly being made available as cars are replaced by new or facelifted models, such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Ford Fiesta and the Ford Kuga. 

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: ‘A faster penetration of these technologies into new cars will make it more realistic for the European Union to reach its target to cut road deaths by 50 per cent by 2020.

‘Consequently, Euro NCAP has decided to include AEB assessments as part of the overall star rating from 2014 onwards and hopes that European authorities will soon require AEB as mandatory on all new vehicle types.’