Volkswagen's 'Local Hazard Warning' system has become the first piece of technology in almost six years to win a Euro NCAP award, claiming the safety body's ‘Advanced’ award in recognition of its unrealised potential to protect motorists from hazards.
The communication system enables Volkswagen cars to warn fellow road users of upcoming road safety risks by transmitting a signal to nearby cars, emergency vehicles and road infrastructure.
For example, if a vehicle equipped with the system breaks down in a tunnel where there is little visibility, it could use the signal to warn other drivers to approach with caution in order to avoid a collision.
Alternatively, an equipped vehicle can also receive warnings from other equipped cars regarding upcoming hazards. Possible warnings include things like 'safety system active in vehicle ahead', 'stationary emergency vehicle' or simply 'accident'.
A Volkswagen spokesperson told CarAdvice it was not yet certain whether the technology would make its way to Australian models.
One of the technology's key benefits is that – given it operates directly between the car and other vehicles – it does not require a phone network in order to transmit its warnings.
However, Euro NCAP said the system was currently limited by the fact it relies on other vehicles to be similarly equipped in order to see real benefits, meaning its safety potential is as-yet untapped by the wider market.
The system also only issues warnings at speeds of 80km/h or more and is not activated at vehicle delivery, requiring the car owner to accept the data protection agreement in order to activate it.
“This is an exciting area of safety and one which offers the potential to help road users who have, so far, been difficult to protect, like motorcyclists,” Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, said.
“It is already on Euro NCAP’s roadmap but its full potential will not be realised until many vehicles are equipped with a compatible system, along with roadside hazards. Volkswagen are to be congratulated for making the technology standard on high-selling vehicles like the Golf.”