EuroNCAP continues its research and analysis work on the subject of road safety, making its tests increasingly specific and adapted to the evolution of technology and the market. The latest news are the tests carried out on assistance services on the motorway, a first time for the independent European safety body, which has decided to test those who are in fact the precursors of autonomous driving, now ever closer. .
BMW iX3 promoted with flying colors, Yaris and Mokka-e less well
EuroNCAP tested the so-called “Highway Assist” of seven cars: the best overall performance was the BMW iX3, classified as “Very Good”. The Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Cupra Formentor obtained “Good” ratings, less well Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, whose systems were rated as “moderate”, while those of the Toyota Yaris and Opel Mokka-e were classified as “Entry”.
The electric variant of the BMW X3 range, in particular, convinced thanks to a new set of sensors, which is offered as an option on the combustion engine versions. Polestar 2 received a moderate rating for limited service performance, and announced that it will carry out an over-the-air (OTA) update of the car’s software soon to allow Euro NCAP to evaluate the new version. Even the entry level systems, while offering at least two fewer functionalities than the more sophisticated ones, nevertheless provided the driver with a level of support deemed useful, and the fact that they are offered on cars that generate high volumes of sales for the body ” indicates the direction of travel for automated driving “.
Assisted driving, the background (and objectives) of EuroNCAP
EuroNCAP had already tested some driving assistance systems in 2018 and 2020, noting that some models “promised more than they could deliver”, promoting more automation than vehicles could actually deliver. All the vehicles tested this time, however, for the institution “offer a balance between Assistance Competence, the degree to which the system can help the driver, and Driver Engagement, the extent to which the driver feels he must maintain control over the car and pay attention”.
What are Highway Assist?
Highway Assist systems are systems that help the driver maintain a constant speed, a safe distance from the car in front and the vehicle in the middle of the lane by combining Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Lane Centering (LC). They are designed to assist the driver, not to take control, and the expectation is that the driver always keeps his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road. The involvement of the driver and the type of support offered by the vehicle are therefore fundamental aspects, according to EuroNCAP, to evaluate the functionality of the system and in general to understand how much the brand promotes safe driving. Especially in light of the diffusion of these systems, which from exclusive have become more and more “mainstream” and within everyone’s reach as technological progress has made the models that come out of factories more and more advanced, albeit with different degrees of sophistication and different faces. of price.
“This balance between assistance and involvement is crucial – said Michiel van Ratingen, EuroNCAP Secretary General – Cars are not yet able to drive fully automated and drivers should not be led to think they are. Reports from America have highlighted the very serious problems that can occur when people have unrealistically high expectations of what such systems can offer. We are pleased that the manufacturers represented in this round of testing clarify the level of support they can provide ”.