EuroNCAP, the safety organisation that gives star ratings to most new cars has said it will not give a five star rating to new cars from 2014 unless they are fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
These systems are more frequently known as "City Stop", and automatically apply the brakes if the integrated radar system picks up an obstacle immediately in front of the car which the driver has not reacted to.
Euro NCAP says that real world performance data suggests AEB systems can reduce accidents by up to 27% (although our story last week suggests a slightly lower figure). A recent survey undertaken by Euro NCAP reveals that AEB is completely unavailable on 79% of the car models on sale in Europe and that 66% of manufacturers do not offer an AEB system on any of their new car models.
Premium brands unsurprisingly have the best levels of standard AEB fitment. However, some volume sector manufacturers are making AEB systems available on 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 in July 2012. 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 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% 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.'