As vehicle technology advances, the complexity and importance of safety measures grow significantly. For the NDS Association, our core principles are interoperability, transparency, innovation, and safety. In this context, NDS is supporting the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), a program dedicated to consumer protection and the assessment of passenger car safety. In addition to passive and active safety of the “hardware” car, the evolution of electronic safety systems, such as ADAS, has become increasingly significant, as highlighted in NCAP’s “Safety Assist” protocol. Sjon Kuijpers from NDS member HERE Technologies and NDS Product Manager Ottó Nyírő provide insights into how the Navigation Data Standard aids NCAP compliance. The most important difference between ISA and NCAP is that ISA is mandatory, while NCAP is voluntary.
NCAP at a glance
NCAP stands for “New Car Assessment Program,” a safety program designed to evaluate and rate the safety of new vehicles. NCAP’s goal is to help consumers and businesses to compare vehicles more easily and to help them identify the safest choice for their needs. For OEMs, it’s a chance to have their vehicles assessed for safety. Vehicles get a safety rating determined from a series of vehicle tests designed and carried out by NCAP organizations. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real-life accident scenarios. There are multiple NCAP organizations around the world with specific safety requirements and respective roadmap.
Euro NCAP’s Safety Assist protocol consists of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Occupant Status Monitoring, Speed Assist and Lane Support. With the 2023 protocol update, location data has become increasingly vital to meet the new Speed Assist requirements.
The EuroNCAP Protocol for Speed Assist
The Euro NCAP protocol for Speed Assist has two functions, a speed limit information function or SLIF, and a speed control function. The Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) can be a standalone function or an integrated part of a Speed Control Function. The SLIF must display the speed limit at all times and warn drivers when exceeding the maximum legal speed. These are key components:
Three new criteria effective in 2023
The Advanced Functions, including Conditional Speed Limits, Road Features and Local Hazards, must to support the driver in at least 80% of typical driving on public roads in nine specific countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK), and at least 50% of the Euro NCAP countries, including the 27 European Union countries plus the UK, Switzerland and Norway.
Different NCAP ratings
Beyond the SLIF, Speed Assist also includes a speed control function. Alongside the five-star safety rating system, there is also a so-called Assisted Driving grading system. This system provides detailed information on Highway Assist systems, typically offered as an option and not included in the Euro NCAP star rating. For both protocols, the system requires the information from the Speed Limit Information Function: the basic and conditional speed limits to adapt the speed based on speed limit changes and the road features to slow down the vehicle based on road features like curves, roundabouts, and junctions. Special location data services, such as HERE Location Data, contribute to both Safety Assist and Assisted Driving scoring.
NDS provides map data for NCAP in a standardized way
The original NDS specification, now known as NDS.Classic, is designed for embedded use in vehicles. It’s a physical storage format that allows incremental and over-the-air map updates, essential for NCAP compliance. According to current assessment protocol, if map data is used for the EuroNCAP Speed Assistance System, it must be updated frequently (at least quarterly) and automatically for the first six years, without user action.
NDS.Classic is on the road for over a decade now and it is successfully deployed in millions of cars of over 40 automotive brands. The use cases range from classic navigation to ADAS systems (including NCAP), and HD maps used for Level 3 automated driving.
Typically, when NDS maps are used for navigation, the same pre-installed map is used for EuroNCAP Speed Assistance System as well. But what about vehicles without built-in navigation systems? Preinstalling a map database for ISA and EuroNCAP purpose only, and maintaining it over 14 years for ISA, or over 6 years for NCAP with continuous map updates may not be the most efficient approach.
As the automotive industry undergoes a major transformation, with cloud and interface technologies becoming increasingly significant, the next generation NDS standard, NDS.Live, is designed to standardize map service interfaces. With maps expected to be cloud-stored and requested in real-time as needed, NDS.Live is an ideal solution for vehicles lacking built-in navigation systems, providing necessary map data for ISA and NCAP use cases.
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