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Euro NCAP sets out future crash-testing vision

Date: 12 September 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Euro NCAP has announced its intention to crash-test fully autonomous vehicles as well as holding vehicle manufacturers accountable for driverless car safety systems.

The crash-testing body said its future plans - titled Road Map 2025 - sets out the priorities for future car safety equipment "to offer clarity and confidence to consumers, highlighting new technologies and raising awareness of their benefits".

Euro NCAP added it would "challenge" brands to offer the best possible technology as standard to protect car occupants and also address the safety of other road users.

The Road Map outlines a timeline for the introduction of key protocol enhancements, 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). 

"The potential safety benefits of automated driving are huge," said Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP. "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."

He added: "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." 

Responding to the launch, Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: "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."