Although a relatively rare feature on cars at present, the European New Car Assessment Programme marked its 15th anniversary by declaring that it would include AEB technologies in its star rating from 2014.
Real world performance data suggests AEB systems can reduce accidents by up to 27%, according to Euro NCAP. Although the introduction of such active safety technologies is reducing road deaths and injuries, the availability of AEB inEuropeis far from standardised, says the organisation.
Highlighting the situation a Euro NCAP survey reveals that AEB is completely unavailable on 79% of the car models on sale in Europeand that 66% of manufacturers do not offer an AEB system on any of their new car models.
AEB systems can help to avoid crashes or to mitigate their severity by warning the driver and supporting their braking response and/or by applying the brakes independently.
The technology generally uses forward-looking radar, lidar and video systems to provide a complete, accurate, real-time image of the road ahead.
Since 2010, several car manufacturers have been recognised for the safety benefits of their AEB systems through Euro NCAP Advanced rewards.
The survey reveals that brands such as Volvo, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have the best levels of standard AEB fitment, and are joined by Jaguar, Range Rover, Audi and Lexus when optional fit is also considered.
Cars in the executive and large family categories have the highest level of availability, at least as an option.
However, some volume sector manufacturers are showing that AEB can be offered as standard or as an affordable option on mass-market vehicles, says Euro NCAP.
Amongst 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, the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic and the VW Up!. It is understood that Fiat will also make AEB a low-cost option on the new Panda next month.
AEB systems are increasingly being made available as cars are replaced by new or facelifted models, such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Ford Fiesta and Ford Kuga.
Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP said: ‘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% by 2020.
‘Consequently, Euro NCAP has decided to include AEB 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.’
Euro NCAP says the inclusion of AEB systems into its star rating system will alert and encourage consumers to choose AEB when buying a new car as it will improve their safety and help them avoid or mitigate a crash.