Safety Systems Need Warning Light Says Thatcham

Thu 12th Mar 2020

One of the country’s leading experts on car safety has called for better technology to alert drivers when advanced driver assistance systems are not working properly.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), have been credited with making Britain’s roads safer, the technology which comes into force while driving allows electronic systems to guide drivers through radar and lidar scanners which can be found in bumpers and windscreens.

Many modern cars include variations of ADAS including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance.

But Thatcham, one of the UK’s biggest insurance groups has called for the technology to better report errors or faults, to let drivers know that they can’t depend on the systems.

“What we’re asking for is a standardised warning light,” said Thatcham’s chief technical officer, Richard Billyeald in Autocar magazine, “so that, for whatever reason, if any sort of ADAS system has reduced performance or functionality… there is a light – like you would get if your ABS or your airbag had a problem – that says ‘go and get it looked at’.”

Damage to a car’s technology can sometimes go unseen or fault due to general wear and tear. The Autocar report points out that the slightest damage to a bumper could cause the lidar to be out of line, and paint repairs to a bumper and also disrupt signals of some systems.

“This year, we’ll be releasing what we’re calling the UK Insurance Requirement for the Safe Repair of Vehicles with ADAS,” Thatcham’s Billyeald said.

“We’ve come up with a set of requirements and, rather than trying to get it written into legislation, it’s a reasonably simple route for insurers to say ‘this is what we want to see’ with repairs.”