Five-star crash ratings will soon be harder to achieve

Posted on November 12th, 2013 by James Luckhurst

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.20.15Crash prevention will be the ultimate key to five-star cars, says Insurers’ Research Centre

Coveted five-star safety ratings may soon be awarded only to those cars that can avoid or reduce the impact of a crash, as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) marks the way forward for future road safety, according to Thatcham Research. Euro NCAP has released data on AEB crash tests, collected from approved test centres around Europe.  Half of the tests were carried out by Thatcham, the British motor insurers’ automotive research facility.

Thatcham has been researching and testing Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems on behalf of insurers for the last three years and has carried out hundreds of tests on a wide range of new vehicles.

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research said: “The vast majority of major vehicle manufacturers are already providing AEB technologies on their vehicles and such is their effectiveness, we are delighted that international safety body Euro NCAP will incorporate the Thatcham led test as part of their overall vehicle safety standard in 2014. We expect that, by 2016, cars will find it increasingly difficult to achieve a five-star rating unless they have this powerful safety measure. UK insurers are already offering favourable insurance groupings on vehicles fitted with AEB as standard – a clear sign of its effectiveness.”

“The evidence from our testing is undeniable, and combined with a growing body of real world research and evidence we firmly believe that AEB and other ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) have a critical role to play in avoiding both common low-speed bumps that can cause injuries such as whiplash, and mitigating injuries and fatalities from medium-speed crashes,” said Shaw.

Thatcham carried out AEB testing on the following vehicles:

Ford Focus (Active City Stop)

Volvo XC60 (City Safety)

Volvo V40 (City Safety + Collision Warning with Full Autobrake) Mercedes E-Class (Pre-Safe Brake)

What is AED?

An Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) or Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is an autonomous road vehicle safety system which employs sensors to monitor the proximity of vehicles in front and detects situations where the relative speed and distance between the host and target vehicles suggest that a collision is imminent.

If it detects such a situation, what happens?

In such a situation, emergency braking can be automatically applied to avoid the collision or at least to mitigate its effects.

WIll it save lives?

A recent study suggests that if all cars feature the system, it will reduce accidents by up to 27 percent and save up to 8000 lives per year around the world.

If it’s so good, then why isn’t it mandatory in all cars?

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has announced that this kind of system is to be mandatory for new heavy vehicles from now onwards.