Euro NCAP updates its test criteria

Euro NCAP updates its testing

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Words: NZ Autocar
22 May 2020

In what is described as the biggest shake-up in a decade, a rethink of the Euro NCAP crash-test programme addresses weight disparities between vehicles, and whether larger, heavier vehicles inflict excess damage on smaller, lighter ones. That’s alongside a host of other updates.

The changes have been made because of worries that bigger SUVs and cars inflict more damage to small car occupants in significant collisions.

To assess this issue, a new deformable barrier will be used in tests, measurements assessing how much damage one car might inflict on another during a collision. The barrier will actually move (at 50km/h) as a better reflection of such real-world crashes.


Matthew Avery, a board member of Euro NCAP, commented “The objective is to encourage makers of larger vehicles to share some of the burden of the impact with smaller vehicles. Historically [big vehicles] have offered very good protection to their occupants. However, the smaller vehicles they sometimes crash into can fare less well.

“In the new compatibility test, if the larger vehicle is too stiff, it will be penalised accordingly. This levels the playing field and is a win-win for road safety.”

In other updates, a more sophisticated crash-test dummy will be introduced, with the new model more closely reflecting the behaviour of humans in collisions.

Updated fatigue detection systems will also be tested in a world where cars are increasingly autonomous because drivers need to take back control after adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist have been deactivated.

EuroNCAP tests will also assess the degree of injury sustained by driver and front-seat passenger impacting each other during side-impact collisions.

Car makers that indicate where emergency services should cut into a car with trapped occupants will also receive higher scores.

Finally, more sophisticated tests will be undertaken on AEB systems to see whether they intervene appropriately during reversing procedures or when a car pulls out of a T-intersection and fails to give way.


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