Euro NCAP has tested highway assistance systems offered on four recent cars. The Jaguar I-Pace system was graded as entry level, the updated Polestar 2 system as good, and the VW ID.5 and Nissan Qashqai were the best performers with systems rated as very good.

Euro NCAP assesses assisted driving systems outside the regular overall rating system. The tests are a series of critical highway driving scenarios, such as typical cut-in and cut-out scenarios, designed to show how effectively the system is able to support the driver in avoiding a possible crash. It also evaluates how driver and system cooperate and how the system ensures that the driver remains engaged in the driving task, avoiding “over trust”.

Finally, the vehicle’s ability to mitigate the consequences of a crash, referred to as safety backup, is tested, in case an accident is unavoidable.

The new Qashqai, already an outstanding performer in Euro NCAP’s overall safety rating, stood out in this round of assisted driving tests. With almost perfectly matched scores for driver engagement and vehicle assistance, the car’s so called ProPILOT with Navi Link system demonstrated excellent balance between helping the driver and preventing over-reliance. But it was in the area of Safety Backup that the car really excelled, with an almost-perfect 93%, according to Euro NCAP.

VW’s ID.5 also performed well with a high level of assistance to the driver, supporting many driving tasks on the highway but never promoting over trust which might lead to driver distraction.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “We have been publishing assisted driving gradings for a couple of years now and we are seeing real improvements in system performance. Most manufacturers realise that it is important that drivers enjoy the benefits of assisted driving without believing that they can hand over control completely to the car, and that’s one of the aspects that our assessment considers.

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“Congratulations to Nissan – the Qashqai is the most affordable car in this group but, with the ID.5, shares the highest rating we have seen so far. It shows that the technology is moving fast and that assisted driving will become part of the mainstream very soon.”

The Polestar 2, already assessed last year, had been updated to provide better support in bends when in assisted driving mode. The update to version P1.8, made over the air late last year, improved the rating of its system from moderate to good.

The Jaguar I-Pace was the oldest car in this group and its system was rated as entry level, illustrating how fast this technology is improving on the market. The emphasis is put on driver engagement – making sure that the driver does not switch off from the driving task and is ready to take over control when needed, with more limited levels of vehicle assistance and safety backup.