Research indicates that 90% of road accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted or inattentive. Car manufacturers are now developing systems which can alert the driver to an imminent crash and can help him use the maximum braking capacity of the car, and which can also apply the brakes independently of the driver if the situation becomes critical. Such intervention is known as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
Real world performance data suggests that such systems can reduce accidents by up to 27% and can lead to a significant reduction in injuries.
Euro NCAP believes that AEB systems offer a great safety potential. In 2014, their assessment will be included in the rating scheme, and tests are being developed to allow the performance of different systems to be compared. In the meantime, Euro NCAP has undertaken a survey to establish which systems are currently in the market and the extent to which they are made available by manufacturers.
Euro NCAP has already recognised the safety benefits of some AEB systems through its Advanced rewards.
Euro NCAP has grouped systems into three main categories: City,Inter-Urban and Pedestrian. Systems may fall into more than one category, or may meet the requirements of all three.
City AEB can avoid low-speed impacts in city traffic up to 20km/h.
Inter-Urban systems operate over the speed range 50-80km/h but may also provide useful mitigation at lower speeds, typical of an urban environment.
Pedestrian systems can detect pedestrians and other vulnerable road users like cyclists.
AEB Fitment Survey 2012
Euro NCAP has asked all manufacturers whether or not they provide an AEB system which falls into one or more of the categories described above. Where a system is offered, the extent to which it is available in a model range has been examined. The model range is broken down into all available variants: by body type, engine type and grade. For each country in the European Union, the manufacturer has identified whether a system is offered as standard equipment or as an option or is unavailable on that particular variant. In this way, the proportion of availability across a model range can be established. The availability of a system (or of different systems if a manufacturer offers more than one) can then be aggregated over all models to determine the extent to which manufacturers offer AEB systems on their model line-up.
The coloured bars are used to illustrate the fitment within a model range. A bar which is predominantly green indicates that an AEB system is widely available as standard equipment on that model. However, if there is also orange or red in the bar, some variants do not have the equipment as standard and a consumer should be careful to order a car which has the system. If the bar is mostly orange, indicating optional fitment, the consumer should be careful to choose the option when the car is ordered. If the bar is largely red, this shows that there are many variants in the range on which AEB is not offered.
The consumer should be careful to choose a variant on which AEB is available since not all vehicles may have the system fitted.
Such are the very positive safety benefits that AEB systems offer, Euro NCAP believes that many future vehicles will have these systems fitted and consumers are encouraged to choose a new car with AEB.