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Thatcham: Make AEB standard

Date: 29 January 2016   |   Author:

The Government should do more to encourage the take up of autonomous emergency braking technology.

That's the view of Andrew Miller, the chief technical officer at vehicle safety research body Thatcham and president of car crash test organisation Euro NCAP, who is keen to see intelligent safety kit made standard on all new cars. AEB is currently available in 41% of new cars, but standard on just 17%, although it already plays a part in new car crash-testing results published by Euro NCAP.

From 2016, Euro NCAP takes into account pedestrian-avoidance systems, with the effectiveness of more sophisticated crash-avoidance kit that watches out for cyclists, for instance, scheduled to arrive in 2018. The weighting of AEB scores is also set to increase.

Government legislation is key to ensuring uptake of AEB, according to Miller: "We've asked the Government to regulate, they say the market's not broken yet." However, the UK is in discussions with Europe over legislating for the technology, he pointed out, which could see the kit fitted on all new models.

This also aligns with research data commissioned by Thatcham and insurers Direct Line Group, which found that 82% of motorists think safety features currently offered as optional extras should be included as standard on new cars, which gives manufacturers "a clear mandate" to act, according to Thatcham.

With the advent of sensors that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, Miller emphasised that "it's definitely a safety argument that the Government should act". Another tactic Thatcham has lobbied for is fiscal incentives - "so a tax system, or some other fiscal intervention, to drive the implementation of this technology".

With motorists and industry placing desirability and costs over clever safety kit, more also needs to be done to communicate the effectiveness and value of AEB to motorists too, said Miller, including selling the benefits of lower insurance and reduced incidence of crashes.

Alongside the call for collision-avoidance technology to be rolled out across the car market, Thatcham is also calling for the technology to be given a standardised name, to ensure that drivers and fleet managers understand exactly what safety kit is fitted to their vehicles.

Miller also hopes to see other autonomous driving technologies made standard across the car market - such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.