Clear assessments to end consumer confusion
Automated Driving systems have the potential to bring safety benefits to our roads in the future. As Thatcham Research, we support their development.
But they’re not a reality yet. The most sophisticated driver aids motorists can currently call upon are Assisted Driving systems. This tech is a common feature on many new cars.
For an Assisted Driving system to be safe and effective, it’s crucial drivers know the capability and limitations of it and how to use it safely.
To support consumers, we have worked with Euro NCAP to develop the world’s first Assisted Driving Grading framework that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the assisted technology on new cars.
Under the testing protocols we have developed, Assisted Driving tech is assessed across three performance criteria:
- The level of vehicle assistance they provide How effective are the speed assistance, steering assistance and adaptive cruise control systems which work together to help control the vehicle’s speed and steering?
- The level of driver engagement they offer Is the carmaker’s portrayal of assistance appropriate in their marketing material? How effectively does the car monitor the driver to ensure they are engaged with the driving process? How easy is it for the driver to interact with the assisted system? How clearly does the car communicate its assistance status?
- The effectiveness of their safety backup systems How well does the car protect its occupants in an emergency – this could be a system failure, when the driver becomes unresponsive, or if the car is about to collide with another vehicle?
Cars are awarded an overall grading, based on their test results across the three performance criteria – each scored out of 100. However, the maximum number of points that can be scored is 200 because the lesser score of vehicle assistance and driver engagement is added to ‘safety backup’ to grade the balance of the system.
Cars that score 160 points and above are graded ‘very good’, while a score of 140 or above earns a ‘good’ result.
Cars that earn 120 points or more secure a ‘moderate’ result and, at the bottom end of the scale, an ‘entry’ grading is awarded for a score of 100 points or more.
All testing results are published so motorists can easily access our valuable insight.
The best – and safest – Assisted Driving systems achieve a good balance across all three performance criteria.
The robust Assisted Driving systems of today are likely to form the basis of the Automated Driving systems of the future.