ANCAP will test how new cars behave underwater from 2023

Australia’s independent vehicle safety assessor will soon make it harder for new cars to get a five-star rating, introducing stricter criteria and even tougher test scenarios from next year.


Independent new car safety assessor ANCAP is set to start rating vehicles on how easily they allow occupants to escape when submerged in floodwaters and how well they prevent young children from being inadvertently left in cars, as part of the changes will take effect next year.

From 2023, the Australian New Car Rating Program will make it harder for new cars to achieve a coveted five-star score by implementing stricter and more specific rating criteria to see how cars react in a variety of crash and safety test scenarios.

One of the key changes will require manufacturers to “demonstrate how their new vehicles can allow occupants to more easily escape from a submerged vehicle, or rescuers to access trapped occupants.”



“Vehicles stuck in floodwaters or those found in a lake, river or other body of water are a danger to their occupants and present difficulties for first responders,” ANCAP said in a statement.

“ANCAP will assess whether car doors can be opened without battery power, and power windows remain functional and can be opened for up to 10 minutes after submersion.”

Crash avoidance testing will be “significantly expanded” in 2023, with new scenarios including a child pedestrian crossing the back of a vehicle, a cyclist crossing the path of a vehicle turning onto a side road and a cyclist a vehicle approaches from behind. the passengers open the car doors.



Additionally, ANCAP will expand the areas of active safety it assesses to include features such as ‘child presence detection’ which assesses a car’s ability to “notify the driver or emergency services if a child is inadvertently left in a locked car”.

While the safety body has been testing autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems since 2018 – assessing their ability to respond to other cars, pedestrians and cyclists – it will soon be expanded to include systems that detect and react to motorcycles.

“Referred to as Powered-Two-Wheeler AEB, vehicles will need to be equipped with an AEB system capable of braking for a motorcycle in intersection turn scenarios where a motorcycle passes in front of a car,” ANCAP said.



“The vehicles will also be tested for their ability to detect and prevent skid-type collisions with a motorcycle through more sophisticated active lane support systems.”

Additionally, AEB systems will soon be tested on their ability to prevent head-on collisions and intersection collisions.

ANCAP will also introduce a new device that closely resembles an adult leg in order to provide better insight into the specific injury risks posed by vehicles.



The safety assessor, which was established in 1992, usually updates its protocols every two years, but the most recent major changes were last implemented in 2020, with COVID resulting in a three-year gap between it and next round of updates.

As has been the case since 2018, the overall rating of a car will continue to consist of the results achieved in four main areas: Adult passengers (40 percent), Children (20 percent), Protection of vulnerable road users ( 20 percent) and security. Assistance (20 percent).

ANCAP encourages consumers to look for a vehicle with the latest possible five-star rating to ensure it has the latest protection and crash avoidance features.



ANCAP will publish more detailed information on what to expect from 2023 later this year.

Susannah Guthrie

Susannah Guthrie has been a journalist since she was 18 and has spent the last two years writing about cars for Drive, CarAdvice, CarSales and as a motoring columnist for several in-flight and hotel magazines. Susannah’s background is in news journalism, followed by several years spent in celebrity journalism, entertainment journalism and fashion magazines and a brief stint hosting a TV travel show for Channel Ten. She joined Drive in 2020 after spending a year and a half at the helm of Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE online platforms. Susannah has a Bachelor of Media and Communication from the University of Melbourne and cut her teeth as an intern for Time Inc in New York City. She also completed a television presenter course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and one-year-old son, who, despite her best efforts, still doesn’t have a good commute.

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