These days it seems like almost every car on our roads comes with a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. Everything from superminis to hulking great big 4x4s pack that all-important quintuplet of pictorial suns, but it's about to get a whole lot harder to secure membership to this club.
That's because as of 2014, 5-star ratings will only be given to cars that have autonomous emergency braking (AEB) fitted. The systems, which use radar technology to monitor the road ahead, can predict when a vehicle is about to be involved in a crash and apply the brakes automatically to prevent an accident or reduce its severity.
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP 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 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.’
Initially, relatively few cars will qualify for 5-star ratings. A recent study undertaken by Euro NCAP revealed that EAB systems are completely unavailable on 79 per cent of car models on sale in Europe. That's a shame, because the organisation also discovered that AEB systems can reduce accidents by up to 27 per cent.
Currently, AEB systems are most commonly found on premium brands. Volvo, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz cars are most likely to feature the technology as standard, while Jaguar, Range Rover, Audi and Lexus all offer the technology as an optional extra.
AEB is beginning to crop up on an increasing number of high-volume cars. The Ford Focus, Mazda CX-5, Honda Civic and VW up all feature optional AEB, and the number should rise dramatically following this new move by Euro NCAP.