I thought this was too significant to put in the normal news section. I've just become aware that ANCAP are changing their rating protocols. I'm struggling to find a detailed link, but it would appear that it won't be possible for a manufacturer to get a 5 star rating for their vehicle unless an effective autonomous braking system is STANDARD. 

Given selling a car that's 4 star is difficult, manufacturers will be forced to fit the systems. I can't find a detailed release.. but it clearly states... 

“As our requirements become more stringent next year, it will not be possible for new models to achieve a 5 star ANCAP safety rating without an effective AEB system fitted as standard.”

https://www.ancap.com.au/media-and-gallery/releases/safe-car-choice...

There are some issues. 

  • I think manufacturers that achieved 5 stars this year can continue to sell that car as 5 stars until they make a model change (facelift).
  • According to the census, the average age of Australias vehicle fleet is 10.1 years. So, it's going to take some time until we see AEB becoming widespread.

At any rate, since we can't seem to make people put their phones down this is a win for VRU's.

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Some details on how they work here:

http://www.caradvice.com.au/293366/autonomous-emergency-braking-exp...

Some key points from this article:

1. "geared towards low speed situations, generally under 30km/h"

2. "Most AEB systems don’t actively track pedestrians or cyclists"

3. "Only a few AEB systems, like Volvo’s snappily titled Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Mercedes-Benz’ Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Detection, BMW’s Driving Assistant and Subaru’s offering can detect and attempt to avoid people."

Lets hope the ANCAP standards include the requirement for pedestrian and cyclist detection, and work at speeds over 30km/hr.

The cynic in me says the more auto safety features the car has, the more time the driver will tend to spend doing something other than drive.

When the inevitable happens, the excuse will be that the car's auto system failed and there was just nothing they could do.  So sad, too bad, and everyone will go home.

Except the vulnerable road user.

It might work the other way.  99.9999% of the time, the auto system will work.  If the occupant is not paying attention, they will get bounced around inside the car and have a very uncomfortable ride.

I really do hear you.. but what do we do? We can't make people put down their phones so let's take it out of their hands.

I would have far more confidence in a fully autonomous car.  At least it must obey the programming, and will have far quicker reactions than the mark-1 human.

What James said.

I've been knocked off a bike twice in the last few years - both times the driver claimed they didn't see me - one hit was on a footpath designed for bicycles. 

The whole autonomous vehicle discussion has focussed on "what if there is a single death" and who will be held responsible.  Well, as we speak, a cyclist can and have been run over by a person driving a car and no-one will be held responsible. Last year 1290 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Australia. Over the last ten years 14891 people have died in motor vehicle accidents in Australia.  So, what will be different?

How many have died or maimed since people started driving motor vehicles?

I don't believe I will be worse off with a machine scanning it's environment thousands of times a second with multiple detectors. I'd be happy to wear a small radar reflector or transponder so that there will be no I will be seen - it's just programme logic after that - and it will improve with time.

Bring it on.

I don't think that self-driving vehicles need to be perfect.  As soon as they are demonstrably better than humans, there will be a huge push for them.  Insurance companies, lobby groups, safety experts etc will all want them.  Motor vehicle manufacturers will join in because it will mean increased sales for them. 

Also, as soon as self-driving vehicles reach a critical mass, which might be as low as 10% or 20% of vehicles on the road, they will force human drivers to drive better, simply by being intermingled with them.

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