The impact of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on truck safety


As the world becomes more and more reliant on commercial vehicles to move goods and materials, truck safety has become an increasingly important topic. In recent years, the development and implementation of ADAS have shown great promise in improving truck safety. In this blog post, Andrew Pick, Business Director of Track Test Systems at AB Dynamics, explores the impact of ADAS on truck safety and how Euro NCAP’s 2023 Safer Trucks initiative will impact the heavy vehicle sector. 

Why is Euro NCAP focussing on truck safety?

Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) is an independent organisation established to evaluate the safety performance of new cars sold in Europe. The organisation assigns a rating, ranging from one to five stars to each car based on its active and passive safety performance. These ratings help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a new car. The combination of consumer demand for five-star rated vehicles and progressively more challenging Euro NCAP test protocols has driven a steady advancement in underlying ADAS capability.

Euro NCAP has traditionally focused on testing and rating the safety of passenger cars, but in recent years, the organisation has recognised the need to address truck safety. This is due to a combination of factors, including an increase in the number of commercial vehicles on the road and also, when they occur, the severity of the accidents involving heavy trucks.

To address this issue, Euro NCAP published the Safer Trucks report in April 2023, its latest initiative aimed at improving the safety of heavy commercial vehicles. The report outlines Euro NCAP's plans to introduce a new safety rating scheme for trucks, with scenarios tailored to city and highway environments. Similar to Euro NCAP’s car protocols the proposed rating system will cover four phases, safe driving, crash avoidance, crash protection and post-crash safety.

The crash avoidance category will cover systems like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and those systems that can protect vulnerable road users like blind spot detection. The crash protection category will include enhanced occupant protection but importantly also considers crash compatibility. As most casualties from accidents with trucks are outside the vehicle, ensuring crash compatibility with cars and pedestrians has the potential to offer real safety benefits.

By contrasting and rating the safety features that are currently available in commercial vehicles, as well as areas for improvement, Euro NCAP hopes to encourage the wider adoption of safety technologies and ultimately, improve road safety for all road users.

How do ADAS systems improve truck safety?

ADAS is a broad term used to describe a variety of systems that assist drivers in the operation of their vehicles. These systems use a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor the road and the vehicle's surroundings and can provide drivers with warnings and other assistance to help them avoid accidents. ADAS systems can improve truck safety in several ways:

  • Collision Mitigation: ADAS systems can use radar and camera technology to detect potential collisions and warn the driver, or even take control of the vehicle to avoid a collision.
  • Blind Spot Detection: Blind spot detection systems use sensors to detect when a vehicle or cyclist is in the truck's blind spot and warn the driver.
  • Lane Departure Warning: Lane departure warning systems use cameras to detect when the truck is drifting out of its lane and warn the driver.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking: Automatic emergency braking systems use radar and cameras to detect potential collisions and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not respond in time.

What are the benefits of using ADAS systems in trucks?

A key benefit to using ADAS systems in trucks is improved safety; both for the drivers of the trucks, but just as importantly for other road users. ADAS systems can help prevent accidents by detecting potential collisions and warning drivers or taking control of the vehicle to avoid a collision.

One of the first examples of ADAS systems in trucks was the mandatory fitment of Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) – which was introduced into all new types of N2 and N3 category vehicles through UN ECE Regulation 131 in 2013. These systems prevent (or lessen) accidents between trucks and other road users by drastically reducing the speed of the truck when a stationary or slow-moving vehicle is detected in its path.

What does this mean for future Truck ADAS testing programmes?

The Euro NCAP Safer Trucks report highlights the potential benefit of improved ADAS systems in trucks. ADAS systems have become more prevalent in cars thanks to consumer testing. By involving the right stakeholders Euro NCAP want to achieve the same in trucks.

As a result, truck ADAS testing programmes will likely become more challenging and extensive, with a greater focus on assessing the effectiveness of these systems in real-world scenarios that would otherwise result in the most serious accidents. Manufacturers will also be under pressure to develop and refine their ADAS systems to meet the higher standards set by Euro NCAP. 

Euro NCAP has had a significant impact on the car industry by promoting and improving vehicle safety standards. Consequently, ADAS testing technologies have become more sophisticated, realistic, and robust. Truck manufacturers and operators alike, can now benefit from these proven ADAS testing technologies, especially those that have been developed with system robustness in mind. At AB Dynamics, we have been at the forefront of developing ADAS testing technologies and have a range of driverless robots, VRU targets and platforms that are already heavy vehicle ready. As a result, truck manufacturers can now access tried and tested ADAS testing solutions, which can help improve the safety of their vehicles and ensure they comply with new test and regulatory standards.

Key takeaways

Truck safety is becoming a more prevalent issue and Euro NCAP’s new truck safety rating scheme is likely to drive innovation in the development of truck ADAS technologies and promote the fitment of these safety features across the industry. Euro NCAP has played a vital role in the passenger car industry by promoting and improving vehicle safety standards, and we suspect that with this shift of focus towards improving truck safety, there’s potential for real change to happen within the heavy vehicle sector. Euro NCAP’s ratings have become an important benchmark for car manufacturers looking to showcase their safety credentials. As a result, car manufacturers have been motivated to improve the safety performance of their vehicles, leading to significant advancements in safety technologies and features over the years.

Euro NCAP has highlighted collision avoidance technology as a key part of their vision zero goal. ADAS has the potential to greatly improve truck safety and reduce the number of accidents on our roads. These systems can provide drivers with warnings of impending dangers and other assistance to help them avoid collisions. As the world continues to rely on trucks to move goods and materials, it is important that the sector continues to develop and implement these systems to ensure roads are safer for all.

To discuss how AB Dynamics can support your ADAS testing requirements, contact us at or click here to learn more about our solutions for heavy vehicle testing.

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