EuroNCAP will soon begin evaluating vehicles the effectiveness of autonomous emergency braking systems that can detect pedestrians.
For these new tests, the organisation will employ a set of pedestrian dummies that are mounted on a trolley and drawn across the path of an oncoming vehicle.
The dummies are built to survive a crash, and are articulated and move with a human-style gait. As well as very similar to a human being, they also mimic infrared reflection and radar characteristics of a person.
Three sets of tests will be used employed initially: adult running at 8km/h; adult walking at 5km/h; and child running at 5km/h out from behind an obstruction. In all these tests the car will be approaching at speeds between 20 and 60km/h.
According to EuroNCAP's secretary general, Dr Michiel van Ratingen: "Although this technology is rapidly developing, it’s not yet possible to prevent every collision with a pedestrian in the real world but vehicles designed to perform well in these tests will be better equipped to prevent these thousands of needless deaths and life-changing injuries on our European roads. Therefore, from 2016 the rating will give credit to those vehicle models that offer this capability."
The organisation states that for a car to earn a good score in the test, it much be able to prevent a collision in all three pedestrian situations at speeds up to 40km/h, while at higher speeds the car must be able to reduce the impact speed to less than 40km/h, thereby making the collision more survivable.
Citing independent studies, EuroNCAP believes that one in five fatal pedestrian collisions could be eliminated if good autonomous braking systems were employed on all cars. In many accidents take place because drivers brake too late, too gently or not at all. Quite often this is because pedestrians make an unexpected move or drivers are distracted.
More: Read about how autonomous emergency braking systems work in our handy primer.