Make autonomous emergency braking standard, urges Thatcham

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According to UK-based independent safety expert, Thatcham Research, vehicle safety test results issued today by Euro NCAP reveal that car makers are embracing the importance of offering a full range of advanced safety technologies on new vehicles and accepting that standard rather than optional fitment is the best policy.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia and Seat Ateca achieved the top, five-star score in Euro NCAP tests, with their safety equipment specifications proving crucial in securing the rating. Both vehicles feature autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems that operate in both lower speed (city) and higher speed (inter-urban) environments, which can reduce the likelihood of a crash. The two new cars are also equipped with pedestrian protection AEB technology, which is designed to further reduce the risk to vulnerable road users and became part of the Euro NCAP test procedure at the beginning of 2016.

“Alfa Romeo and SEAT deserve praise for the high level of safety technology on these new cars and in particular for including advanced automatic braking as standard,” said Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research. “It’s clear that manufacturers are increasingly responding to consumer calls for standard fit safety and simplifying the buying decision.”

According to Thatcham Research findings, the combination of low- and high-speed AEB on the Giulia and Ateca improves the possibility of crash avoidance at a wider range of speeds and as a result is likely to reduce both personal injury claims and the cost of crash damage. “Claims data shows that higher speed AEB systems have the potential to reduce injury crashes by up to 45%,” commented Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research.

Thatcham Research believes that AEB should be fitted as standard on all new cars on sale in the UK. Currently, just 21% have it as standard, with a further 27% offering it as an option. Thatcham Research is urging drivers to only consider new cars with the technology and believes that car makers need to take action now to accelerate the pace of AEB being fitted to all new cars, without exception.

“Car makers that don’t offer AEB should follow the example set by vehicles achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating and embrace this life-saving safety automatic braking technology,” commented Shaw. “And where AEB is currently available as an option it could easily be made standard instead, having an immediate positive effect on road safety.”

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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