The auto safety research company Thatcham has published a list assessing the relative merits of different cars’ assisted driving technology, with the Mercedes GLE the overall highest scorer.
Working with Euro NCAP, Thatcham has graded vehicles based on their vehicle assistance technology, such as speed and steering assistance and adaptive cruised control, as well as driver engagement and safety back up.
The first batch of results inform consumers about the performance and limitations of ten currently available assisted driving systems. These systems combine automatic acceleration, lane keeping and braking to reduce driver fatigue on long journeys, offering steering support while maintaining a set speed and safe distance from the car in front.
However, some vehicles performed better than others when put in the testing spotlight.
The Mercedes GLE emerged as the strongest performer across all three performance criteria, while the BMW 3-Series was just two points behind. Both vehicles achieved a ‘very good’ grading.
The Ford Kuga’s results showed a ‘good’ grading is possible for a mid-class vehicle, thanks to its combination of Vehicle Assistance and Safety Back-up systems. The entry-level Renault Clio and Peugeot 2008 offer effective systems, but lack emergency assist capability which would have boosted their grading.
The Tesla Model 3 was top scorer in the Vehicle Assistance and Safety Back-up assessments, but was the lowest scorer for Driver Engagement, resulting in a ‘moderate’ grading. The researchers said its design philosophy is very much about the vehicle doing the driving, which would be appropriate for an automated vehicle, but that they are judging vehicle assistance.
Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research explained that vehicles are still a long way from full automation. “Our assessments highlight that, while today’s assistance systems can support the driver, they are not capable of, nor designed to, take complete control in all critical situations,” he said.