Thatcham backs safety as standard calls

Safety experts at Thatcham Research have welcomed the calls from leading automotive consumer magazine ‘What Car?’ in supporting the availability of important, low cost, safety technology like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) across all cars. Currently only 17 per cent of cars available to buy in the UK have standard fit AEB.

The simplest form of AEB sensor, enabling a Lidar based system that is found on the likes of the Volvo V40 and Mazda 3, could cost manufacturers as little as £40. More advanced radar and camera based auto-braking systems, which provide additional functionality including the ability to avoid pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, have unit costs which are still likely to be under £200.

Thatcham Research applaud car manufacturer’s fast progress in developing crash avoidance technology, and point out that 41 per cent of cars on sale in 2015 had AEB available. However, only 17 per cent of cars available have it fitted as a standard feature. And of the remaining 24 per cent, less than 2 per cent were specified with AEB as an “extra” by motorists.

A recent survey conducted by Thatcham Research and Direct Line Insurance Group, revealed that 82 per cent of drivers think car safety features like AEB should be fitted as standard and available for free. Not as an “extra”.

The effectiveness of AEB has already been recognised by insurers, with the standard fit system typically attracting a benefit of 3-5 insurance groups, equating to a reduction in premium of around 10 per cent.

Thatcham’s Director of Research, Matthew Avery said: “There is no longer any excuse for car makers to launch new cars without AEB as standard across the board, and along with dealerships, to promote and explain AEB more effectively to consumers.

“Not only will this reduce insurance premiums, but give peace of mind for motorists by significantly reducing crashes and associated injuries.”