Euro NCAP ranks driving assistance systems

Published: 01 October 2020

 Euro NCAP inspects semi-autonomous tech 
 System from key brands analysed
 Mercedes comes out on top

Euro NCAP has published a report on the car industry’s leading autonomous driving systems. The report – which is actually a joint project with Thatcham Research, is the first of its kind, and judges the level of safety offered by popular driving assistance on the road today. 

Autonmous levels explained

Semi-autonomous systems from the most popular car brands have been ranked, with several factors producing an overall hierarchy. You can read the rather interesting results, below:

Despite becoming ubiquitous on most new cars nowadays, it’s clear there is a gulf between the quality of semi-autonomous on the market – something we’ve seen in regular car testing. 

How Tesla Autopilot works 

Mercedes’ system (tested in the GLE) was the most proficient, with the BMW system in the 3-Series and Audi Q8 coming second and third. The top three were graded as Very Good, with Ford in 4th graded as Good – while Tesla came 6th

But how was it graded?

Euro NCAP only tested one representative car from each brand, and assessed three critical factors: vehicle Assistance, driver engagement and safety backup. 

Vehicle assistance measure the actual performance of the systems in a controlled environment, with scenarios such as bends, approaching stationary cars and adaptive cruise all given a weighted score.

The safety backup category assessed how the systems reacted to blocked sensors as well as the amount of driver ‘hands-off’ time each system allowed. And also how the system tried to protect the occupants in the event of an emergency.

Finally, the driver engagement factor analysed the amount of education the driver was given about the features and limitations of the system, as well as instructions on how to operate it. Interestingly, it’s this area that Tesla scored worst in – despite having the most impressive scores in both system performance and safety back-ups.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes.