Volkswagen is to become the first commercial vehicle brand to fit all its vans with autonomous emergency braking systems (Front Assist with City Emergency Braking), meaning all customers ordering a new Caddy, Transporter or Crafter van from June 1 will be guaranteed safety as standard.
According to Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ automotive research centre and respected experts in safety, security and crash repair, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems are ‘probably the most significant development in vehicle safety since the seat belt’ and have the potential to save more than 100 lives and 120,000 casualties over the next ten years.
Not only does autonomous emergency braking have the potential to reduce the number and severity of accidents, it has also been proven to cut third party injury insurance claims by 45%. For van drivers and fleet operators, this means lower costs as well as less downtime thanks to fewer crashes and therefore drivers and vans kept on the road – and working – for longer. In addition, vehicles fitted with autonomous braking systems have an average insurance premium reduction of 10% compared to those which don’t.
Commenting on the development, Head of Marketing, Sarah Cox, said: “Producing safe, reliable vans has been at the heart of our brand for over 60 years. But technology is advancing at a pace and we’re continually seeing more and better ways to keep drivers safe on the road. We’re really proud to be the first to fit AEB as standard to all our vans. This means safer vehicles on our roads, leading to fewer accidents, lower costs for operators and potentially fewer lives lost: what could be more important?”
Peter Shaw, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research, said: “Volkswagen is a trailblazer and should be applauded for being the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all its vans in the UK. The truth is that we are seeing a year on year rise in deaths and serious injuries involving vans which this technology can help to avoid. It is shocking that AEB, a proven lifesaving technology, has not been widely available to van owners or drivers until now. We call upon all vehicle manufacturers to follow Volkswagen’s lead, and fit AEB as standard across all their light commercial vehicles as soon as possible.”