Vehicle controls: Euro NCAP and UTAC integrate motorcycles into their protocols

On July 7 and 24, 2022, two fatal crashes in the United States involved Tesla Model Y and Model 3 cars, as well as two people riding custom Yamaha V-Star and Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles. In both cases, the incident happened at night.

It didn’t take long for Autopilot, Tesla’s autonomous driving system, to be selected, and by the way, Euro NCAP. The European organization that conducts passive and active safety tests for vehicles (protection of adults, children, vulnerable road users and safety devices) has indeed awarded the Model Y five stars, 98% of which are on the Safety Assist criterion. Many elements, much to the ire of FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclist Associations), criticize the excellence of this technology through the article, especially the Tesla technology that uses only cameras without radar.

Fema is therefore asking Euro NCAP to take better account of motorized two-wheelers in their test protocols. This federation was joined by the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC), a non-profit organization that brings together motorcycle manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, scientists and motorcycle associations. Last August, CMC published a white paper on how advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) detect motorcycles and make recommendations to improve their visibility.

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The question is why ADAS has difficulty accepting motorcycles. Is it really Euro NCAP’s fault? We caught up with ADAS/AD Innovation Head Aurélien Garcia and ADAS expert and biker Pierre-Marie Damon to find out more. Both work for UTAC, a French organization that works on the fine-tuning, development and approval of new technologies, as well as delivering its recommendations to Euro NCAP. These enrich the test protocols of which the motorcycle is a part, thanks to the support of the state of which it is the subject. “very sensitive”because he “It remains the pet loss of French accidentology”.

In addition to hearing about this double-fatal accident, the two experts also weighed in on Fema’s criticisms. Despite the dramatic side of the facts, they wanted to bring some clarity.

For Aurélien Garcia and Pierre-Marie Damon, the American IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and European (Euro NCAP) organizations are not at all similar, starting with the test protocols and the software versions that control the aids. . It would be a little too early to claim that Tesla was entirely to blame, explain it to the French. Of course, we can criticize Tesla’s technological choice of relying only on cameras and not on radars, but “This is neither the role of Euro NCAP nor of the Technology Promotion Regulation”, declares Pierre-Marie Damon. By the way, Tesla is one of the manufacturers Put a lot of technology in, unlike other manufacturers who want to be a little frugal on the sensors”.

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According to the expert, “The main purpose of Euro NCAP is to determine the criteria for rating and evaluating cars. Manufacturers are free to choose whatever technologies they want, however efficient they are to meet these criteria.”. We can blame Elon Musk’s company for doing it “It was a somewhat atypical, even cruel choice to use only cameras for a driver assistance system, but it allowed it to meet the criteria set by Euro NCAP”. For our experts, “Taking two accident samples to represent vehicle performance is a somewhat straightforward conclusion.”.

Ahead of Euro NCAP regulations

“Euro NCAP brought driver assistants to our roads”, defending Aurelien Garcia, a long-time collaborator with the organization. It gives us a summary of the driving aids introduced by Euro NCAP before they were (slowly) integrated into the rules.

In 2014, car-to-car automatic braking appeared, followed by a trial protocol for pedestrian protection in 2016 – to be reinforced in 2018 with bicycles and cyclists. The obligation to integrate these driving aids only came into force in 2022 for new vehicles – their democratization is planned for 2024.

MUSE, a test protocol dedicated to motorcycles expected in 2023

In 2016, the Ministries of Interior and Transport sent a letter to Euro NCAP. “Know the importance of developing OEM security systems”. Knowing this, the French authorities are asking for the motorcycle to be added to the vehicle safety assessment “Technological innovations in the field of automobiles open the door to improve the safety of this category of road users”. Therefore, UTAC and the State established a European consortium called MUSE, which brings together all Euro NCAP players (manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, test laboratories). The aim is to provide recommendations and scenarios to the latter, which integrate them into the 2020/2025 roadmap. Today we are talking more about 2023, say Aurélien Garcia and Pierre-Marie Damon.

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This slowness is explained by the implementation of modules (five in total) consisting of special tools. So, “The first big step of this first project is to look at accidentology”. From here we define first “Scenarios at risk and then parameters to consider in order to have the widest possible coverage from an accidentology perspective”. Aurelien Garcia and Pierre-Marie Damon add it “Night accidents with the participation of motorcyclists are not accidents that appear again and again in European accidentology”.

Though “UTAC and the French Ministry put a nice coin to bring a motorcycle protocol to Euro NCAP”motorcycle is coming “a little late” knowing the two experts, knowing that “Regulations will only consider motorcycles in 5-10 years”, preferably in 2028! This discrepancy is related to him “Priority selected according to accident rate”also “technological maturity”. Actually it was easier “Targeting pedestrians and bicycles first rather than motorcycles, which are very dynamic vehicles with a low radar or visual signature. This creates a certain perceptual difficulty.”.

It is Euro NCAP “very knowledgeable” that motorcyclists are non-physically sensitive users like pedestrians and bicyclists and take longer to start up than the other two user categories. It is obvious that, “This is a priority for the next few years”.

In addition, there are ongoing thoughts on it “accidentology of small displacements (50 to 125 cm³), because these are city cars with a somewhat special use, often with accidents that may be special”. Most of the time, their users are less educated about road hazards than motorcyclists who pass a special test Traffic laws Dedicated to. This must be the reason “Addition of complementary test scenarios, protocols, tests in coming years”.

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In May 2021, a study commissioned by the MAIF foundation (Aurélien Garcia was in charge of UTAC) assessed the benefits that communication (C2X or V2X) could provide in the risk of car-motorcycle collisions. According to Aurelien Garcia, “This is an axis that needs to be explored in the sense that even though vehicles carry a lot of sensors, no matter how efficient they are, they have certain limitations (we can’t see through walls with cameras or radar today). There’s this whole gray area where ultimately connectivity has tremendous potential.”.


So another European consortium, still managed by UTAC, aims to be called SECUR (for Enhancing Safety through Connected Users on the Road). In addition to the last state, Renault, Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Volvo, Suzuki, Bosch, Denso, Valeo, Aptiv, Continental…

Specifically, SECUR “For the promotion of these new technologies in transport and vehicles, Euro NCAP should provide a framework for communication and a road map like MUSE. in the end save your life”, explain our interlocutors. It is a question of embedding V2X in the same protocols as other sensors. Recommendations for the 2026-2028 roadmap will be released in early 2023. This is a completely new technology that comes step by step. Once again, “Euro NCAP will draw this long before the regulations”.

ARAS or special driver assistance systems

“At UTAC, we do everything we can to maintain safety because that’s our role.”, announce Aurélien Garcia and Pierre-Marie Damon in the chorus. The motorcycle is at the heart of the concern of the French organization, which has once again launched “call for expressions of interest” on ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance Systems). Like ADAS for cars, these are advanced on-board driver assistance systems. They intervene while driving, in critical situations without the driver’s awareness or anyway to reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident.

bosch macaws motorcycles

Depending on its recent success, this initiative thanks to players in the sector, “Providing Euro NCAP with protocols no longer on the car side, but on the motorcycle side”. Our two interlocutors add that what is important, “It’s really a car-motorcycle coexistence and the two-way relationship should be considered.”.

As for the timeline, UTAC mentions the Euro NCAP Motos protocol between 2025 and 2030, before the rules come into force in 5-10 years. According to the calculations of the Bosch equipment manufacturer, ARAS can prevent one out of every seven motorcycle accidents. Recall that according to a study conducted in Britain, the development of ADAS in cars has reduced accident rates by 20-30% in recent years.

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