A few weeks ago I wrote about Crash Safety Ratings highlighting history of the ratings and I also wrote about Clarence Ditlow, one of the people instrumental in developing and lobbying for the ratings. The crash ratings across the globe are often “NCAP” compliant, in other words sharing New Car Assessment Program details. In Australia, it is ANCAP that administers the program.
They have announced a change to the ratings that actually came into effect from the 22nd January that requires all cars show that the autonomous technology fitted can help with the safety. From this year, the ANCAP ratings will focus on:
1. Adult Occupant Protection
2. Child Occupant Protection
3. Pedestrian Protection
4. Safety Assist
For Adult Occupant Protection, there are a maximum of 38 points to be gained. Tests include offset frontal impact, full frontal impact and two side impact tests that all have 8 points each. There are two whiplash tests that provide 2 more points in total and Autonomous Emergency Braking in a city environment now covers 4 points. Gain over 80% of the 38 points will give you a 5 star rating for that segment. 40% will give you 1 star.
In the Child Occupant Protection tests, the interior is based on a child in a safety restraint. There are 49 points available with 24 of those assigned to the frontal and side impact tests. 12 points are based on the child restraint systems fitted to the vehicle and the remaining 13 points are focused on the vehicle’s overall ability to protect the child. Like the adult occupant tests, 80% success will get you a 5 star rating and 40% will give a measly one star.
Pedestrian Protection is focused pretty much on the pedestrian’s head – 24 of the 48 points on offer focus on what happens when (or if) the skull connects with the vehicle. The remaining impact tests all receive a possible 6 points each with two based on leg impacts and the other two are focused on Autonomous Emergency Braking for Vulnerable Road Users (VRU). One is for pedestrians and one is for cyclists. 60% of the points on offer will give you a 5 star rating.
The Safety Assist tests will evolve over the next few years with 13 points on offer for the next two years and will rise to 16 from 2020 onwards. Having a reliable seat belt reminder will give you 3 points and Speed Assistance Systems will be tested for another 3 points. The Autonomous Emergency Braking systems under highway conditions will be tested and after 2020 will have more points on offer – 3 rising to 4. A further 4 points are available for successful tests relating to Lane Departure Warning systems, Lane Keep Assist systems and Lane Support Systems. Junction Assist systems will be tested from 2020. 70% success will get you a 5 star rating for that segment.
These new tests will mean that many cars that got a 5 star rating up to and including 2017 will no longer get them because they will need to have many autonomous systems fitted. I would expect that by 2020, new tests will be developed for fully autonomous vehicles and that will be interesting to see how they map human and non-human driving accidents. The great aspect of NCAP is that the tests can be standardised across many countries.