From 2016, Euro NCAP will test the effectiveness of the automatic braking systems that apply a car's brakes to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.
A range of manufacturers across the industry now offer the systems on their vehicles, although this is the first time any such technology will be subject to official testing.
The tests operate under three scenarios: an adult walking into the path of the car, running into the path of the car, and a child walking out from behind a parked car. The tests rate the car’s response to the pedestrian, the detection of the pedestrian and the effective prevention of collisions, as well as the reduction in severity of the collision, should the system fail to stop the car in time.
Detection and response times and speed and firmness in brake application all face scrutiny as the main areas which NCAP claims the systems can offer benefits over a human driver.
Cars will score a higher mark under the new tests if they completely avoid a collision when travelling at 25mph, and when travelling at higher speeds of up to 37mph, a significant reduction to non-fatal speeds at impact will also gain higher marks.
By Jimi Beckwith