Euro NCAP has put the focus on pedestrian safety with a new test that will check how well vehicles autonomously detect and prevent collisions with pedestrians.
With new vehicles offering more autonomous driver assist systems, the European safety organisation says its autonomous emergency braking (AEB) pedestrian tests will make it simpler for consumers and manufacturers to find out which systems work best.
The tests will examine a vehicle’s response to pedestrians in simulations of the most common urban scenarios: adults walking and running into the vehicle’s path and a child stepping out from behind a parked car.
To score well, vehicles should be able to prevent collisions with specially developed pedestrian dummies at speeds of up to 40kmh (25mph). At higher speeds of 40-60kmh (25-37mph ), the AEB system should aim to reduce the collision speed to less than 25mph, making the impact more survivable.
Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, said: “These new tests are the first in the world to assess highly automated vehicle features and driver assistance systems from the pedestrian’s perspective.
“Many new cars now offer some form of AEB system that can help prevent car-to-car collisions, but only some are also able to detect pedestrians.
“Vehicles designed to perform well in these tests will be better equipped to prevent these thousands of needless deaths and life-changing injuries on our European roads.
“Therefore, from 2016 the rating will give credit to vehicle models that offer this capability. At the same time, these tests will make it possible for new car buyers and fleet operators to make an informed choice.”
Euro NCAP says it has been assessing pedestrian protection since 1997 and has awarded higher scores in its safety ratings to vehicles designed with forgiving front-ends. The organisation started testing the effectiveness of manufacturers’ AEB systems in preventing car-to-car collisions in 2013 and is planning to extend the assessment of AEB systems for vulnerable road users to cyclists in the coming years.
AEB Pedestrian systems are already offered on several vehicles tested by Euro NCAP including Audi Q7, BMW 2-Series and BMW i3, Ford Mondeo, Lexus NX, Mercedes C-Class, Mini Cooper, Volvo V40, XC90, Toyota Avensis and VW Passat.