Fleets gain technology insight

Thatcham Research has provided some of the UK’s leading fleet operators with an insight into evolving vehicle technology at its Stop the Crash: Fleet Brake Off event.

The track day event, held at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire, offered an insight into autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as well as allowing attendees to experience the technology first-hand.

Matthew Avery, safety research director, Thatcham Research introduced attendees to the day highlighting how autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is just one – ‘significantly beneficial’ – building block on the journey towards the autonomous vehicle. He went on to describe how today’s ‘new era’ of Euro NCAP safety ratings includes advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and how Thatcham has been a major driving force behind the standardisation of the global AEB test protocol for the rating. ‘A huge amount of future Euro NCAP focus will be on collision avoidance systems,’ said Matthew. ‘We look at the evolution of these systems in terms of feet off, hands off and, finally, eyes off timeline. It might be some way off but we are very much on that journey.’

A presentation from Ford Motor Company’s business development manager, fleet operations, Fiona Dinnis and Colin Worboys, business development manager highlighted how the manufacturer is advancing with various safety technology, much of which is being tested at Dunton Technical Centre. ‘Self-steering is coming, we are quite a way down the road with that research already.’

Peter Wells, leader accident research team: vehicle structures and passive safety, Volvo Group Trucks Technology demonstrated how Volvo Trucks is leading the way with safety with its collision warning with emergency brake (CW-EB) system. ‘I don’t know how far automation is away but we are certainly getting there,’ said Peter.

The event allowed attendees to experience a range of ADAS equipped vehicles including low speed city AEB equipped Volvo S60 and Ford Transit Connect; truck AEB in the form of a DAF CF 18t rigid and Volvo FH 44t artic; low speed semi-autonomous driving in a Mercedes E class and S class; reverse auto-brake in an Infiniti Q50 and Mazda CX-5, and self-parking in a BMW i3.

For a full round-up of the day see the May issue of bodyshop magazine.