Commercial vehicles have always been late to the game when it comes to cutting-edge technologies in the automotive business compared to passenger vehicles. The American automaker, Ford, had an important breakthrough with its 13th-gen F150 by fitting it with second-row inflatable seat belts. However, we will not be talking about Ford, but instead we will be setting our sights on the brand new system offering of Volkswagen. The important tech is the Autonomous Emergency Braking feature that will be made available on the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans as standard equipment for orders that come in on June 1 of this year and onwards.
There’s no doubt that autonomous braking is really a very useful feature to avoid a vehicular collision but these systems are typically offered as an option. However, we applaud Volkswagen for making this move as it will be the first ever auto manufacturer to equip their commercial vans with autonomous emergency braking as standard. It's the latest in a series of steps to standardize the feature across the board.
The recent Euro NCAP crash test requires an effective AEB system to be able to score max points, and vehicles which don't have crash avoidance techs are fined. Due to this, it's uncommon for new vehicles to not be equipped with the system. Starting June 1st, those who will order a Caddy, Transporter or Crafter van units will be fitted with the aforementioned safety feature without needing to mark an option box. Sarah Cox, VW's head of marketing for commercial vehicles, indicated that producing safe, dependable vans has been at the heart of their company for over 60 years.
She further added that tech is now developing at a speed and the company is continually finding more and better ways to keep drivers safe while on the road. She also said how proud the company was for being the first automaker to offer AEB on commercial vans as standard, as this translates to safer vehicles cruising on the roads. This leads to reduced accidents, smaller costs for operators and possibly fewer lives lost. Studies have revealed that autonomous emergency braking slashes 3rd party injury insurance claims by around 45 percent, Volkswagen disclosed.
Thatcham Research, a UK based research center, recognized such features as being the most valuable vehicle safety advancement since the seat belt, further implicating that emergency braking largely contributes to road safety by preventing 120,000 casualties in the next 10 years.
Peter Shaw, Thatcham Research Chief Exec, commented that it is rather surprising that the aforementioned AEB has not been widely offered to van owners or drivers previously until now, and they call upon all automakers to follow the German automaker's step, and equip AEB across all light commercial vehicles as standard as soon as possible. For the meantime, the standard issue braking system is assigned to commercial vehicles in markets that are located outside the United States. The German automaker's line-up of commercial vans is not available in North America.