New Ratings For Self-Driving Cars

Wed 7th Oct 2020

Can a car really drive itself? If you were to believe some of the marketing material pumped out by the biggest car manufacturers you might believe so. A leading car safety body has set out to reveal which vehicles have the best assisted driving technology.

There are many cars on the market which make bold claims about their Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering technology, with a host of other wildly named innovations. But Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP have now launched an Assisted Driving Grading system to fight the ‘dangerous misconception’ that you can buy a car that can drive itself.

Cars are graded on three criteria - vehicle assistance, driver engagement and safety back-up, with a rating of Very Good, Good, Moderate or Entry given dependent on how they rate.

Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s director of research, said: “The systems that are currently allowed on our roads are there to assist the driver – but do not replace them.

“Unfortunately, there are motorists that believe they can purchase a self-driving car today. This is a dangerous misconception that sees too much control handed to vehicles that are not ready to cope with all situations.

“The first batch of results show some car makers have developed robust assisted driving systems and that's good to see. But there are also significant gaps in capability on other vehicles.

“Clarity is therefore required to make sure drivers understand the capability and performance of current assisted systems,” said Mr Avery.

“It’s crucial today’s technology is adopted safely before we take the next step on the road to automation. There are safety and insurance implications that must be considered seriously.”

So far Thatcham have graded 10 cars, with the Mercedes-Benz GLE getting the best rating of 174, graded Very Good.