Campaign to make autonomous features mandatory
The European Commission is being urged to make a number of autonomous features mandatory on new cars, vans and trucks to help reduce deaths and serious injuries on European roads.
The call comes from a coalition that includes vehicle safety organisations and environmental NGOs as well as consumer groups and cities, which say that new minimum vehicle safety standards are ‘absolutely critical’ to reducing deaths and serious injuries on European roads
Last year saw the European Commission publish a list of 19 safety technologies that it is considering to make mandatory. Now, the coalition says the Commission should turn this into a formal legal proposal.
The technologies under consideration for new cars include Automated Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) – an overridable system for helping drivers stick to speed limits – as well as updates to crash testing requirements.
For trucks the Commission is considering upgrading direct vision requirements so truck drivers can see cyclists and pedestrians more easily as well as barriers to prevent them being run over in the event of a collision.
EU vehicle safety standards were last updated eight years ago although technology has seen rapid advances since then, and the group says that new cars that currently only meet the minimum legal safety standards in the EU would receive zero stars today in tests carried out by Euro NCAP.
Although safer requirements have been expected for at least the last three years, a recent meeting of the European Commission’s Motor Vehicle Working Group put new proposals back to March 2018.
In a letter to European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the group, which includes the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and Transport & Environment (T&E), added: “Making driver assistance technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance standard features will also help Europe’s pathway to higher levels of automation. Standardising and independently testing such features will be important groundwork for self-driving vehicles.”