Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Euro NCAP reveals details of first ever Heavy Truck safety rating tests

Euro NCAP has announced a major milestone in the development towards a Truck Safe rating scheme. This is in direct response to data showing that while trucks represent only three per cent of vehicles on Europe’s roads they are involved in almost 15 per cent of all EU road fatalities. 

At the recent NCAP24, in front of an audience of international road safety experts and industry, Euro NCAP showcased what elements the organisation is currently considering as part of a future Truck Safe rating and how it intends to evaluate and benchmark truck performance.

Key safety technologies being assessed by Euro NCAP:

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA)
Speed is well known to be a contributing factor in many crashes and, whilst trucks have top speed limiters for Highways, they do not prevent speeding on other road types. ISA can automatically read the speed limit and control the speed of the vehicle, meaning the driver can focus on the road and not worry about breaking the law.

The system uses cameras and GPS mapping to identify the correct limit and warn the driver if they exceed the limit or even prevent the truck from speeding in the first place. These systems can even read the variable speed limits that we see on our Motorways and Autobahns.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB has been fitted to trucks for some years and uses radars fitted at the front sometimes using a camera to help identify the collision object. However, its performance has not been as high as passenger cars where we see a 40 per cent reduction in front to rear crashes.

Euro NCAP believes these systems could be better and help reduce the nine per cent of car occupant fatalities and 17 per cent of truck occupant fatalities that occur when a truck runs into the back of another vehicle.

AEB Vulnerable Road Users (AEB VRU)
Euro NCAP has tested AEB for pedestrians since 2016, and all new cars will react and brake for crossing pedestrians – adults and children. However, only one truck has a system in production. These systems often fuse cameras, and radar data, and warn the driver or even automatically brake.

Euro NCAP wants all manufacturers to fit AEB systems that can not only detect crossing pedestrians but also cyclists, and even eScooter riders. It is thought that systems like these could prevent a third of all HGV-to-pedestrian crashes.

Lane Support Systems (LSS)
Trucks running off the road or veering into the opposite lane account for 40 per cent of fatalities from single-vehicle crashes and four per cent of those from head-on collisions. Lane Support Systems can prevent these crashes and whilst a warning is obligatory in new vehicles, Euro NCAP will test for systems that can prevent the vehicle moving out of lane by actively steering the vehicle. Lane Support Systems use cameras to identify white lines and road edges where there are no white lines, helping to reduce fatigue and making our roads safer.

Nearside Turn AEB and Move Off Prevention
There are certain crashes where the basic design of trucks is a contributory factor– the cabs are high off the road. Whilst they offer a commanding driving position to help drivers manoeuvre the vehicle they make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists near to the truck.

Collisions like this represent around six per cent of all fatalities and can be divided into two types:

  • those where a truck turns to the nearside across the path of a cyclist,
  • where a pedestrian is hit when the truck moves off from rest.

Truck makers are responding to this by increasing what is known as direct vision – lower cabs, bigger windows, and low-level windows in the passenger door.

Euro NCAP will be testing systems that can identify an imminent collision with cyclist or pedestrian and intervene more quickly than an attentive driver would do. These systems use sensors on the front and side of the vehicle actively scanning these blind spots making Europe’s city streets safer.

Camera Monitor Systems (eMirrors)
The fitment of electronic mirrors (eMirrors) effectively replaces an actual mirror with a tiny camera and present a large field of view with less image distortion than equivalent mirrors.

In some cases, they can even adapt the view to the driving situation (e.g. giving a wider angle when an articulated vehicle is turning so the driver can still see the rear of the trailer).

These systems can also be especially useful when integrated with blind spot information and warning systems, to focus the attention of the driver on the cab location where the potential hazard can be seen, identified and avoided.