Europe News: Cars that Thatcham couldn’t crash

Europe News:  Cars that Thatcham couldn’t crash

Thatcham, the insurer-funded research centre, has been testing three systems that mitigate – and in some cases prevent – low speed shunts and collisions.

This type of accident accounts for no less than 75% percent of all motor accidents, and cause billions of pounds worth of damage to vehicles.

Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s crash research manager, said that these systems will make a major impact on the number of slow speed accidents, not only in the UK but across the world.

It will take a number of years before enough cars are fitted with the technology, but once a threshold is reached, injury figures will tumble.

Thatcham has been evaluating three different systems:

  • The Volvo City Safety – announced in 2006, which will be fitted as standard to the XC60 (available from November).
  • The Mercedes Distronic Plus system, currently available on some S-class models. This is the updated version of Mercedes’ original Distronic that went into production back in 1999.
  • The Honda Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), currently on the CR-V, was originally introduced on the Honda Inspire back in 2003.

Avery said that while all three systems offer enhanced protection, the Volvo in particular impressed because of its autonomous operation and the fact that it intervened at the last second and can completely avoid a crash.

“It is imperative that driver vigilance is not lowered by the inclusion of such systems in their vehicles,” said Avery. “These systems should not allow the driver to compensate – and take additional risks. The car is not the driver.”

According to Avery, this is just the beginning of the collision avoidance revolution. “We will see systems that can detect pedestrians and other vulnerable road users and even steer the car to avoid a crash.”

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