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ANCAP to up pressure on car-makers

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New-vehicle safety protocols to become tougher as ANCAP moves towards 2020 standard

23 Jan 2019

HAVING just undergone a major overhaul last year, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has confirmed that it will further tighten its new-vehicle safety protocols in 2020.


Speaking to GoAuto at a media event at the Mercedes-Benz Me Store in Melbourne, ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said the company will build on the changes made last year.


“Last year was certainly a big milestone year with some big changes, (as) we’ve fully aligned with Euro NCAP with a new suite of protocols,” he said. “2019 will see a consolidation of those changes.”


Mr Goodwin explained that updating the scoring system prompts car-makers to increase the standard safety in their vehicles.


“Every few years, we push the boundaries and make the assessment harder, yet vehicles continue to score five stars. We move the goal posts deliberately,” he said.


“Yet each time the vehicle brands say, ‘it’s too hard, it’ll cost too much, it can’t be done, people won’t buy the cars’, but now we’ve proven that is not the case, and it’s a really good thing.”


When asked what changes will take place, Mr Goodwin said that there will be adjustments to better test the effectiveness of advanced driver-assist technologies.


“A few years ago, having active safety was almost considered bonus points,” he said. “Now they are fundamental across the four categories of assessment.


“So, something like AEB (autonomous emergency braking) is actually scored in the Adult Occupant Protection box, rather than the Safety Assist box.

“If you don’t have some kind of AEB, it’s impossible to score five stars.”

ANCAP is looking at ways to better compare the levels of advanced driver-assist systems, such as the effectiveness of basic camera-based AEB and radar-based systems with pedestrian and cyclist detection.


“We are now testing the effectiveness of these systems,” he said. “The less expensive systems don’t perform as well as the more expensive systems.


“You can’t just have AEB. It also needs to work.”


Kia’s new-generation Cerato recently scored a split rating, with the price-sensitive S and Sport grades scoring four stars while the higher-specification Sport+ and GT received five stars due to their AEB system featuring pedestrian and cyclist detection.


Mr Goodwin praised Kia for offering strong safety tech at an affordable price but said the split rating serves as “a warning to other brands that you really need to be looking at your product planning”.


“When the technology is available, the excuses become less palatable,” he said.

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