Fiat’s City Brake Control a must-have technology option says Euro NCAP
Fiat has received a Euro NCAP Advanced Award for its City Braking Control (CBC) technology, making it a must-have for safety-conscious buyers. The system is available as an option on all versions of the 500L mini-MPV as well as the Panda city car. Fitted as standard in the UK version of the Fiat 500L Trekking, the technology’s ability to prevent low-speed accidents has earned it a two-group reduction in its insurance premium.
Autonomous emergency braking technologies like this make a real difference to the risk of accidents. “Some estimates say that around a half of all accidents involve a rear-end collision,” said Euro NCAP.
Fiat’s system has a Lidar unit mounted in the windscreen. The technology laser-scans the road 10-12 metres ahead, measuring the distance to anything it illuminates. When it detects the car closing in dangerously on another vehicle, it primes the brakes, warns the driver and at the final moment, stops the car by itself.
“It’s great that autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is available on smaller, more affordable cars like the 500L and Panda,” said Euro NCAP. “Like a lot of safety technologies, autonomous emergency braking started in top-end, prestige cars. With Fiat making them more accessible to more people, this technology should soon become the norm in new cars.”
How well does it work?
In the Fiats, the technology works only at speeds between 5km/h and 30km/h (3-18mph). And while these lower speeds tend not to result in serious injuries and fatalities, the technology will help to prevent whiplash injuries.
The Lidar can detect other vehicles at night, not just during the day, but the sensor works less well in heavy fog or snow. It is also compromised if the windscreen is dirty and the sensor obscured, but as it sits behind the area swept by the wiper, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Most importantly, insurance researchers at Thatcham checked the system extensively to make sure that it works only when it’s supposed to. See this short clip of the testing:
The insurance researchers liked the technology so much that they have asked insurance companies to reduce the insurance group for cars that fit this technology as standard. Most versions of the Trekking received a two group reduction in their insurance ratings. The 1598cc Diesel version received a three-group reduction to 15A.
How do I get it?
Prices for the option are pretty reasonable. If you’re buying a Fiat 500L (£14,995) or Panda (from £8900), City Brake Control is available as a £250 option on all versions. In the UK, the new Fiat 500L Trekking (from £17,095) has the technology as standard.
Got a car with this technology already?
If you’ve got a car with autonomous emergency braking, let us know if it’s already saved you from an accident. It would be great to share your experiences with other readers.