Since 2018 the Soft Car 360 has been used by Euro NCAP to test the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems on over 100 different vehicle models.
If you are driving a late model car in Europe, chances are that the Soft Car 360 was used to prove its safety credentials.
Since it was developed to help vehicle manufacturers and safety authorities to test active safety systems, the Soft Car 360 has become the industry standard, with Euro NCAP is just one of many vehicle testing authorities around the world that rely on the Soft Car 360 to test active safety systems. The Soft Car’s ability to travel at up to 120 km/h when paired with the GST 120 robotic platform means it is also playing an important role in the development of the safety systems used in autonomous vehicles currently under development.
The Soft Car 360 is a collapsible vehicle target used in place of a real vehicle when testing the performance of driver assistance systems. Not only does it visually look like a real, three-dimensional car, it also appears as a real car to automotive safety systems, including radar, lidar, infrared, laser and camera sensors – enabling these systems to be reliably tested. It achieves ‘radar realism’ by using radar reflective material in bumpers, doors and bonnet, reflective printed vehicle lights and number plates along with radar absorbing material underskirts.
The Soft Car 360 is made from foam pieces that are fastened together using hook and loop fasteners. A vinyl skin forms the outer shell of the ‘vehicle’. This is fastened to a remotely operated robotic platform which provides power, steering, braking and precise positioning. This enables the Soft Car 360 to move like a real vehicle and be programmed to synchronise with test vehicles.
As part of the Euro NCAP AEB test protocol, the Soft Car 360 is used to test the performance of a vehicle's AEB systems where the test car is approaching cars that are stationary, moving slowly, braking and where it turns across the path of another car. If the test vehicle doesn’t automatically brake sufficiently, it can collide with the Soft Car 360 without causing damage. Click here to see the Soft Car 360 being used to test the new Škoda Enyaq.
Since it was introduced the Soft Car 360 has been optimised based on feedback from vehicle manufacturers and first-tier suppliers, and now forms the basis of the international standard ISO19206-3.
More recently Euro NCAP has extended its testing to not only include passenger cars, but also assessing the safety of commercial vehicles.