A grading that can be trusted

In this video, Director of Insurance Research, Matthew Avery and Lee McKenzie review the most effective assisted driving systems.
The duo focus on six vehicles, ranging in price point and size, and discuss the importance of clarity when it comes to the capabilities and limitations of these new technologies.

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 itassistance 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 100However, 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. 

Headline findings during first tests 

The first batch of 10 cars that have been tested during the opening round of Assisted Driving Grading assessments include a range of vehicles at different price points on the new car market 

The evaluations drawn from the results are: 

The Mercedes GLE emerged as the most balanced and strongest performer across all three performance criteria, while the BMW 3-Series was just two points behind. Both vehicles achieved a ‘very good’ grading. 

Results for the Ford Kuga showed a ‘good’ result is achievable by a mid-class vehicle, thanks to its combination of balanced assistance and strong safety backup.  

The entry-level Renault Clio and Peugeot 2008 offer effective systems, but lack emergency assist capability which would have boosted their ‘entry’ result. 

The Tesla Model 3 was top scorer in the vehicle assistance and safety backup assessments, but was the lowest scorer for driver engagement, resulting in an imbalanced assisted driving system that was awarded a ‘moderate’ grading. 

Three cars were classified ‘very good’, one as ‘good’, four emerged as ‘moderate’, while the remaining two received an ‘entry’ result. 

All test vehicles lack direct Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) that are very effective at understanding whether the driver is engaged. To achieve a higher score in the vehicle assistance assessment, it’s crucial that cars feature DMS technology. 


For more information on the Assisted Driving Gradings, please visit Euro NCAP

Assisted Driving Grading

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Explained: Assisted Driving

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