Autonomous Braking Systems Will Soon Be a Part of Crash Testing Protocol

While crash avoidance systems have earned recently earned praise for the ability to accurately and efficiently prevent collisions, the systems could soon factor into how well a specific vehicle does when it comes to crash testing. According to The Telegraph, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) plans to include these systems, particularly those equipped with autonomous-emergency braking (AEB) systems, in its vehicle safety assessments for 2014. The Euro NCAP went so far as to say that it will be nearly impossible to score a perfect five-star rating without using an AEB system.

Currently, these systems are only available on luxury or higher end vehicles. The Euro NCAP hopes that by including it in crash test scores that it will force manufacturers to use the systems in more vehicles, particularly affordable and entry-level vehicles. The Telegraph found that only 22% of vehicles on sale in Europe right now are available with an AEB system.

The push for including the systems in more vehicles in Europe comes from studies by the European Commission that showed by adopting AEB systems across a wide range of vehicles, accidents can be reduced by up to 27%, and potentially save 8,000 lives a year. In addition to saving lives and preventing injury, the technology could save between €3.9 billion and €6.3 billion per year.

Not to be outdone, vehicle safety agencies in the U.S. are not far behind. Upon hearing the news about the Euro NCAP including the systems in crash testing, the automotive website questioned the IIHS and NHTSA of its intentions to include AEB systems in test scores as well.

According to Russ Rader, a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the organization has already started looking at a number of crash avoidance technologies to determine how effective they are in real-world driving conditions. So far, the company has released findings from insurance data for crashes involving vehicles equipped with crash avoidance systems, particularly those with and without AEB.

Rader told that based on the effectiveness of AEB systems, the organization will likely include them in future crash-test evaluations, though did not say when. Similar to the Euro NCAP, he did say that the difference between having an AEB system and not having it will in fact likely determine which models earn their coveted Top Safety Pick designation. In addition to AEB systems, the IIHS found that adaptive headlight systems greatly reduced the risk of crashes as well, and may also include these systems in crash evaluations. was unable to reach the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) comment at this time on whether they would factor these systems into their own crash test scoring.

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