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Connected Driving 3 min read

Filling the NCAP gap: what the EU safety standard means for the Asia-Pacific region

Australian city showing streets and skyscrapers from above

NCAP is a safety protocol that has been updated in the EU region - but for automakers, there are huge implications in other parts of the world, too.

The planet's sixth largest country, Australia is full of major roads where people drive long distances, creating a unique set of risks for drivers.

In 2021, there were 1,123 road crash deaths in Australia. While that number has decreased slightly overall in the past decade, injuries from crashes are still on the rise.

To tackle this persistent issue, the Australian government created a program identifying so-called Black Spots, or areas that are prone to crashes, where safety efforts will be focused. They have also drawn up a road safety strategy to make roads safer.


Australia has a number of designated Black Spot areas that are eligible for special measures and resources.


It has led to some calls for the authorities to introduce a mandatory Intelligent Speed Assistance protocol (ISA), similar to the one in Europe.

“We think Australia is a really good jurisdiction to introduce ISA – not only because it is a strategically important region, but because of the size of the country.

“Road safety has been a long-term issue for the Australian government," HERE sustainability expert Ermenegilda Boccabella told HERE360.

The government is now seeking to harmonize national road vehicle standards, known as the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), with international vehicle regulations adopted by the United Nations. A key focus of the ADRs is technological improvements that promote safer roads.

Five-star flex

As Product Marketing Manager of Automated Driving at HERE, Sjoerd Spaargaren, explained recently, New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) around the world focus on passenger safety.

Through their voluntary ratings systems, NCAP organizations give consumers an indication of the safest vehicles on the market – and Spaargaren said Europe and Asia-Pacific regions are ahead in the race. In Europe, recently updated protocols focus on Safety Assist Systems with additions for local hazards and road features. Cars that receive a five-star rating are deemed the safest.


The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has adopted the Euro NCAP protocols since 2018, with some modifications.

In Europe, recently updated protocols focus on Safety Assist Systems with additions for local hazards and road features.

In Australia and New Zealand, you will get additional points for showing conditional speed limits near school zones.

But it is worth remembering that ANCAP is a voluntary system. Boccabella thinks it is high time the government went one step further – and this could well be the next step.

“The technology is available," Boccabella said. “If the government makes speed assistance mandatory, they are just adopting the inevitable. They should put it into the ADRs."

Beth McLoughlin 2023

Beth McLoughlin

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