Assessing advanced driver-assistance systems with Euro NCAP
15 June 2022
The automotive world has seen numerous safety milestones. Seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones have all helped protect lives. But why stop at reactive measures when proactive capabilities might help prevent collisions?
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) look to promise just that. But the technology needs to be properly assessed so the industry knows what works. Enter Euro NCAP. Autovista24 deputy editor Tom Geggus and Adriano Palao, technical manager for ADAS and automated driving at Euro NCAP, discuss the future of automotive safety.
Synonymous with slow motion crash-test videos, Euro NCAP is known for its hands-on approach to automotive-safety testing. Palao explained that Euro NCAP aims to promote safety systems that push beyond the minimum requirements of type approval.
As advancing autonomous technologies create new automotive possibilities, the international organisation has been assessing and ranking advanced driver-assistance systems. ‘The active safety tests are split in the areas of vulnerable road users and safety assist,’ Palao outlined.
Vulnerable road-user protection includes tests for autonomous emergency braking (AEB) for pedestrians and cyclists, with motorcycles to be added from next year. Meanwhile, the safety assist portion considers car-to-car AEB, speed-assistance systems, lane-support systems, and occupant-status monitoring.
Euro NCAP recently tested the ADAS behind the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen (VW) ID.5, Polestar 2, and Jaguar I-Pace. The results demonstrated the rapid pace at which autonomous-safety technology is progressing. Even more impressively, one of the best performing vehicles up for review was also one of the most affordable. ‘I think it is impressive that one of the most affordable vehicles in the programme achieved the highest score both in the star rating and in the assisted-driving rating,’ Palao commented.
But Euro NCAP is not bound solely to testing passenger cars. Following an explosion of demand during COVID-19, the ADAS featured in light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) are also being examined. ‘As the light-commercial vehicle fleet keeps growing worldwide, Euro NCAP deems it essential to include this kind of vehicle in the rating programme. Because fleet managers understand the importance of safety for their companies,’ Palao said.
Euro NCAP was criticised in a recent Carwow article on lane-support technology. In it, Matthew Avery, board member for Euro NCAP and chief strategic research officer for Thatcham Research, was quoted as saying the safety organisation’s tests had led to carmakers fitting ‘tramlining’ technology. Palao explained the organisation’s position and said that the lane-support assessment at Euro NCAP is relevant because of the risk posed by unintentional road departure and any resulting collision.
Looking ahead to its 2030 roadmap, Palao was also able to give a sneak peek into what is coming up for Euro NCAP. After meeting with automotive companies, the safety organisation is considering the impact of higher levels of automation and vehicle safety overall.