Results for the first car to go through the Euro NCAP test programme this year have been released, with the zero-emission Nissan LEAF achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety.
Euro NCAP constantly raises the bar in its testing regime and 2018 has seen several new additions, which means achieving a five-star rating is tougher than ever. Key to the new programme is the introduction of tests to assess the performance of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems which can detect cyclists.
The Nissan LEAF comes with many new safety features and demonstrates that environmental friendliness need not come at the expense of improved safety – the safety of those inside the car and those who share road-space with it.
The LEAF is the first car to be assessed against Euro NCAP’s improved and extended protocols for 2018. As road casualty numbers plateau, more action is needed to ensure that new vehicles offer the latest and best safety technology. For this reason, 2018 sees the introduction of a raft of new tests in Euro NCAP’s assessments, addressing key crash scenarios involving cars, pedestrians and now also the growing number of cyclists.
Cyclist-detection with auto brake technology is tested for the first time on the LEAF and is included with AEB Pedestrian in a new designation called AEB Vulnerable Road Users (AEB VRU). Detecting cyclists presents new challenges to car manufacturers, both from a hardware and a software perspective: sensors must have a wide angle of view to detect fast-moving cyclists in good time, and complex algorithms are needed to ensure correct identification of potential collision threats while avoiding false activations.