The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will introduce new assessment standards for automatic braking systems of automobiles from fiscal 2018. The government will give approval to cars that meet certain standards, aiming to raise overall safety performance levels.
An automatic braking system uses cameras and sensors installed on a car to detect obstacles, automatically decelerating to avoid a collision or mitigate the impact of accidents. Due to a number of accidents involving cars driven by elderly people and others, there is a growing awareness of safety, which has helped spread the system.
According to the transport ministry, 4.3 percent of new passenger cars were equipped with automatic braking systems in 2012, but the figure rose to 66.2 percent in 2016. The government aims to raise the ratio to 90 percent by 2020.
Automatic braking system performance varies widely. For example, some automatic braking systems work at speeds from 5 kph to 30 kph while others work at speeds from 4 kph to 80 kph. They also vary in terms of whether they can detect pedestrians and cyclists, and to what extent they can decelerate a car. Different car models may have very different systems.
The new standards will be based on the concept of obstacles such as other vehicles stopping in front of the car, given that the ability to detect such obstacles is becoming a common specification for automatic braking systems, compared to the ability to recognize pedestrians and other surrounding items. Details of the new standards are expected to be nailed down in the future.
In fiscal 2014, the transport ministry introduced an evaluation system to score measures for preventing accidents in advance, including automatic braking systems. However, in many cases, only well-equipped high-grade cars have been subject to the evaluation, according to informed sources.