Euro NCAP toughens testing protocols

Euro NCAP toughens testing protocols
author image Nikhil Puthran
Friday 22 May 2020, 13:39 PM

Every two years, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) updates and toughens its test protocols. For 2020, the Euro NCAP has decided to introduce some longstanding needs in occupant protection, improve post-crash protection and promote the latest advanced driver assistance technology.

The 23-year-old regulation-based moderate offset-deformable barrier test has now been replaced with Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier (MPDB) test. In the MPDB test, the test car is driven at 50kmph and with 50 per cent overlap into a deformable barrier mounted on an oncoming 1,400kg trolley, also travelling at 50kmph. This new crash test not only evaluates the protection of occupants inside the car, but also assesses how the cars’ front-end structurers contribute to injuries in the collision partner. The unique method to rate vehicle compatibility and adoption of the world’s most advanced ‘THOR’ mid-sized male crash test dummy, are also a part of this revised safety assessment programme.

Side impacts account for the second highest frequency of death or serious injuries. The latest updates to this area of the safety assessment include adjustments to the near-side barrier test speed and mass, thereby increasing the severity of the test. Moreover, for the first time the Euro NCAP will evaluate far-side impact protection, focussing on driver protection and the potential interaction between driver and front seat passenger. With the latter test, the protection offered by new-to-market countermeasures such as centre airbags can be adequately verified.

As the post-crash safety also plays a vital role in crash survival, the Euro NCAP has partnered with CTIF, the international association of fire and rescue services to develop new rating rules that promote better post-crash safety. Manufacturers will be rewarded when rescue information is accurate and easily available. Euro NCAP also checks ease of extrication, electric door handles, etc. and also endorses advanced eCall functions.

The impact of the above mentioned updates will be significant and it is inappropriate to compare the latest results with ratings from the previous years. What stays the same is that only vehicles that perform excellently in crash protection, post-crash and crash avoidance - and the ones that car buyers should look out for - will achieve the top ‘ five-star’ rating. The Euro NCAP testing has been temporarily put on hold due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will resume in the months to come.

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