Developing at lightning speed, advanced driver assist technology (ADAS) is a central technology focus for many automakers and demand among consumers is outpacing other vehicle features such as horsepower, MPG and infotainment. It is no wonder that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has bolstered its automotive safety technology agenda to include ADAS.
The administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) was originally established in 1978 to measure frontal collision safety for vehicle occupants. The program added side-crash rating results in 1997 and rollover assessments in 2001. NHTSA has utilized NCAP to encourage automakers to add safety features on a voluntary basis and recently began evaluating ADAS technologies to recommend which advanced safety features would be potentially mandated in the near future.
Two automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems – crash-imminent braking and dynamic brake support – are under consideration for addition to the NCAP program. “Adding AEB to our list of recommended features will encourage consumers to consider AEB as a factor in their new car purchase and encourage automakers to make this important innovation more widely available,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark R. Rosekind. “NCAP is a critical tool for enhancing safety, so we are also looking at additional innovations to the program to capitalize on this exciting period of progress in safety technology.” (Editor’s note: Administrator Rosekind will be delivering the keynote address at the second-annual Connected Car Pavilion, to be held in Austin, TX, on March 14, 2015.)
Today the NCAP checklist includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning and backup cameras. It’s not unusual for safety features recommended on this list to eventually be mandated, as is the case of backup cameras, which will be required on all U.S. vehicles starting in 2018. And just last year, NHTSA issued a notice of rule making that could mandate connected V2V technology on all vehicles in the U.S. after 2020.
In its preliminary estimate, NHTSA stated that V2V and V2I technologies could prevent nearly 600,000 collisions and save over 1,000 lives per year once fully implemented. Of specific note was left-turn assist and intersection movement assist, which would be enabled through the connected vehicle and infrastructure communication network.
Industry groups have stressed that consumer awareness and education will be needed for ADAS technologies to have their intended positive impact on reducing collisions. As NHTSA continues its work in evaluating ADAS as mandated part of vehicle development, we encourage the auto industry to bring these various interests together and collaborate to realize the full potential of ADAS as well as the technology behind it.