RAC Cars News


Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems Reduce Insurance Claims

By raccars Published

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Safety experts at the Thatcham Research Centre have published data showing that autonomous emergency baking systems can reduce insurance claims by nearly half. They have also recommended that crash avoidance technology should be fitted as standard to all new cars.

Autonomous braking is one of a group of safety assistance systems that are currently fitted to some models of new car and are also used in self driving cars. The Thatcham Research Centre's investigations show that there are 45% fewer insurance claims made by cars fitted with automatic emergency braking. A figure of 20% has previously been suggested, but Thatcham's latest research focused on emergency braking devices found in the Volkswagen Golf and Passat models.

Since the sixth generation Golf reached the market in January 2013, all models except the S specification entry level cars are fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), VW's automatic emergency braking system. The technology uses a radar sensor hidden behind the badge in the front grille, to measure and maintain a reasonable distance from the car in front. Statistics show that third party injury claims on Golfs fitted with this technology are 45% lower than a control group of similar small family cars without emergency braking devices. Given that nearly all models of Volkswagen Golfs and Passats now sold are fitted with ACC, Thatcham expects to see a significant drop in third party injury claims across the industry.

The data was taken from an analysis of the insurance policies of at least 7,000 sixth generation Golfs, insured for a full year on the road. VW's ACC functions within the speeds of 18mph and 99mph on cars fitted with manual or DSG automatic transmissions. It maintains a set speed and distance from the vehicle in front by braking and accelerating automatically in moving traffic. It gives a visual and audible warning to the driver of any upcoming actions and if it senses that the driver's reaction is insufficient, ACC takes over by applying emergency braking, to avoid colliding with the vehicle ahead.

VW also offers more sophisticated versions of this system, which can detect and avoid pedestrians, to bring the accident rate down even further.

The Centre is run by the insurance industry and is designed to research and develop road safety systems. It has said that autonomous emergency braking is the most significant advancement in automotive safety technology in recent years and car owners have benefited from lower insurance groupings for cars which include active safety systems.

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