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Euro NCAP to hold car makers accountable for autonomous car safety as it launches “Road Map 2025”

Press release   •   Sep 12, 2017 09:00 BST

Euro NCAP lays foundations for safety assessment of autonomous vehicles
  • New safety tests will provide first assessments for consumers around autonomous driving
  • New tests to address accidents involving vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists
  • Assessment of collision avoidance technologies at junctions and autonomous steering introduced, along with driver monitoring

Responding to the launch of Euro NCAP’s “Road Map 2025” today (12 September 2017), Peter Shaw, chief executive, Thatcham Research comments: “Euro NCAP’s “Road Map 2025” is a significant message of intent, and marks a watershed in vehicle safety assessments and ratings. It is no longer about just protecting car occupants in an accident, but also assessing how capable a car can brake and steer automatically to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. It lays the foundations for safety assessment of autonomous vehicles.”

While actively preventing crashes in the first place, the Road Map moves the safety agenda further on, by addressing accident scenarios like junctions where pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists are most likely to be killed or seriously injured in collisions with cars. In the UK, 30% of all those Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) on the UK’s roads are Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs).

Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s director of research adds: “We have concerns over the way car manufacturers name and market assisted and automated driving functionalities, with “auto” or “pilot” prefixes. People are looking for answers around how safe the new assisted and autonomous technologies are, and the Euro NCAP assessments and ratings will give clear information about how safely it operates, and what obligations the driver has around taking back control.”

Since its establishment in 1997, Euro NCAP has been the catalyst for significant and sustained advances in automotive safety. Its independent crash tests and continuously evolving assessment protocols have given consumers the knowledge to make informed car purchasing decisions, saving an estimated 76,000 lives across the EU and 15,000 lives in the UK over the past 20 years as a result.

The Road Map 2025 will challenge vehicle manufacturers to offer the best possible technology as standard in all segments, protecting not only car occupants but also increasingly addressing the safety of other more vulnerable road users.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General, said, “The potential safety benefits of automated driving are huge. If we can eliminate human error, we should see road casualty numbers tumbling and many lives being saved. But there is a lot of misunderstanding, over-expectation and perhaps some suspicion, of a world in which cars can drive themselves. Our role will be to provide clear information to consumers about the degree of automation in a car and how safely that automation has been implemented. Quite a challenge, but essential if Euro NCAP is to continue pressing for improvements from those who make cars and providing meaningful information to those who buy them.”

The Road Map outlines a timeline for the introduction of key protocol enhancements, for the first time addressing tertiary safety as part of a holistic approach combing primary and secondary safety features, including:

Primary Safety

Driver Monitoring (2020), Automatic Emergency Steering (2020, 2022), Autonomous Emergency Braking (2020, 2022), Vehicle to Vehicle Data Exchange and Vehicle to Infrastructure (2024)

Secondary Safety

Whiplash/Rear-end Crash Protection (2020), Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety (2022)

Tertiary Safety

Rescue, Extrication and Safety (2020), Child Presence Detection (2022)

Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.