Rearguard action plan
Cars with the software to stop themselves are becoming the rule
AUTONOMOUSemergency braking systems will be compulsory in new cars from 2014 if they are to earn the maximum five-star rating from the European crash-testing assessment program.
Euro NCAP says the software systems can reduce the rate of accidents by up to 27 per cent and the body estimates 8000 lives a year could be saved in Europe if all vehicles were fitted with the technology.
The software uses radar, camera and lasers to scan the road ahead in real time.
When the system detects a change in speed in the car ahead, it can help avoid rearend crashes or reduce the severity of the impact by warning the driver and boosting the braking response and/or by applying the brakes independently.
Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen says: ‘‘ A faster penetration of these technologies into new cars will make it more realistic for the European Union to reach its target to cut road deaths by 50 per cent by 2020.
‘‘ Consequently, Euro NCAP has decided to include (autonomous braking) assessments as part of the overall star rating from 2014 onwards and hopes that European authorities will soon require AEB as mandatory on all new vehicle types.’’
A Euro NCAP survey shows autonomous emergency braking systems are only sold on 21 per cent of new car models now on sale in Europe, with the majority being in luxury and large family cars.
Car makers are making the systems standard or affordable options on mass-market vehicles, Euro NCAP says.
‘‘ Among others, Mazda, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen are selling AEB systems partly as standard or optional on some high-volume cars such as the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Focus,’’ the survey says.
Safety first: Cars like the Mazda CX-5 (above) and the Ford Focus (left) already have autonomous emergency braking system