Euro NCAP plans to implement new rules in 2026, vehicles overly reliant on touch screen operation for key functions will be penalized

Kevin WongMar 08, 2024, 01:57 PM

Do you remember Volkswagen's recent proposal to replace touch-sensitive buttons with physical buttons? At that time, there were plans to revert the touch-sensitive buttons on the multifunction steering wheel to physical buttons. This announcement garnered considerable attention and discussion. Now, Euro NCAP has also put forth a similar idea, intending to consider reducing scores in actual safety tests for cars that overly rely on touchscreen controls. This new regulation is set to be implemented in 2026.





Matthew Avery, the Strategic Development Director at Euro NCAP, stated, "The proliferation of touch controls is a widespread issue across the entire automotive industry. Nearly all manufacturers are shifting crucial functions to the central touchscreen, forcing drivers to divert their attention from the road and increasing the risk of accidents due to distracted driving."


The advancement of this regulation is bound to impact numerous automakers, particularly those heavily reliant on central touchscreen interfaces, such as Tesla. Additionally, we observe a trend in the design of many new energy vehicles moving in this direction. While current models heavily dependent on large central screens demonstrate excellent performance in terms of intelligence, featuring capabilities like voice and even gesture control, Volkswagen and some other brands have received feedback from customers citing inconvenience and safety concerns in the actual operation of touchscreens. This feedback serves as one of the reasons behind the adjustment of these regulations.





Certainly, Euro NCAP does not mandate the replacement of all in-car functions with physical buttons. Instead, it emphasizes the use of physical buttons for crucial functions that impact vehicle safety, such as turn signals, hazard lights, windshield wipers, emergency calls, and other essential safety-related features.





It's important to note that Euro NCAP is not a government regulatory body, so it lacks the authority to mandate adjustments to the operation of these features by car manufacturers. However, starting in 2026, Euro NCAP will incorporate the operation of such features into its safety ratings. Euro NCAP safety ratings have a direct impact on publicity, serving as evidence that newly launched vehicles provide a reliable assurance of safety. Therefore, if the ratings were to decrease, the new regulations might encourage manufacturers to address this issue more seriously and make necessary adjustments.

(Author: Kevin Wong)

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