The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is launching a new set of safety tests designed to evaluate driver assistance systems. Aside from seeing how well these systems function, the new tests are also designed give consumers a better understanding of driver assists with different names and functionalities, by fitting them in neat categories.
Euro NCAP's new assessment protocols focus on three key main areas: Assistance Competence for how well the systems work, Vehicle Assistance for the extent to which it keeps the driver alert and engaged (Driver Engagement) - and Safety Backup, for the system’s effectiveness in critical situations.
Some of the driver assistance systems that will be tested include Highway Assist (HA), a technology designed to make motorway driving safer by reducing fatigue and encouraging safe driving. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Lane Centering (LC) equipment will also be tested.
The tests will involve a grading scheme with Very good, Good, Moderate, or Entry ratings. These won’t necessarily affect a car’s overall Euro NCAP star rating. However, they will let car buyers know the effectiveness of these systems and the accuracy of how they are marketed.
The first set of vehicles have already been tested, with the latest test series including ten cars that offer Highway Assist: the Audi Q8, BMW 3 Series, Ford Kuga, the Mercedes GLE-Class, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Renault Clio, Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen Passat, and Volvo V60.
Among those tested, the Mercedes GLE earned the highest ratings (174 out of 200), with Euro NCAP evaluators noting its ability to keep the “driver engaged with plenty of clear communication regarding the assistance offered.” Not too far behind is the BMW 3 Series (172 out of 200), thanks to its intuitive system, with the Audi Q8 getting the third-best score (162 out of 200). All three of those cars received a ‘Very good’ grading.
“Assisted driving technologies offer enormous benefits by reducing fatigue and encouraging safe driving,” said Dr. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General. “However, manufacturers must ensure that assisted driving technology does not increase the amount of harm incurred by drivers or other road users compared to conventional driving.”
“The results of this round of tests demonstrate that driving assistance is fast becoming better and more readily available, but until driver monitoring is significantly improved, the driver needs to remain responsible at all times,” van Ratingen added.
Photo/s from Euro NCAP