CUPRA have announced that the new CUPRA Born electric car will come with technology designed to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. This is great news, especially if you’re like us at ElectricDrives, who regularly ride bicycles and drive cars.
Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that a large number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities still occur on British roads each year. In the year ending June 2021, 8,720 cyclists and pedestrians were seriously injured, and a further 430 were killed. This should not be happening.
CUPRA agrees with this sentiment and their new CUPRA Born, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle (EV), comes equipped with a specially developed AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System) sound to alert vulnerable road users to its presence. This is helpful, especially at slower speeds when many electric cars are almost silent.
All electric vehicles are required to be equipped with AVAS, which emits sound when travelling at less than 12mph (20kph), however, with the Born, the system is clearly perceptible at speeds in excess of 25mph (40kph). This is especially useful in built-up and urban areas where additional sound is helpful to other road users.
The Born is also equipped with a suite of additional advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) designed to protect vulnerable road users. For example, Front Assist with emergency braking is capable of detecting both pedestrians and cyclists, as well as other vehicles.
If the system detects an imminent collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, it will first provide visual and audible warnings to the driver. If the driver still fails to brake in time or with insufficient braking effort, maximum braking is automatically applied.
The system can detect vulnerable road users crossing the road, travelling along the side of the road and those that cross from behind an obstructed view such as a parked car. The system also works at night in the dark.
The Spanish carmaker’s Exit Warning technology works by providing visual and audible alerts to vehicle occupants about to vacate the vehicle. The system detects if another road user is passing the vehicle as an occupant goes to open a door.
This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the number of cyclists potentially being hit by an opening car door and saves drivers the potential problem of being hit by cyclists. We think this is a great addition and will help reduce the number of ‘car dooring’ incidents.
In January, The Highway Code was updated to include new measures designed to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. One of the most notable changes requires drivers to give way to people waiting to cross at a junction and at zebra or parallel crossings.
Occupants are also recommended to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ when exiting a because it encourages them to look back over their shoulder for any oncoming road users.
However, both the Front Assist and Exit Warning systems found on the Born could assist drivers in both of these scenarios should they fail to spot another road user.
While there is conflict between some drivers and cyclists, we know that there are good cyclists and drivers, and there are bad cyclists and drivers. The important thing is that we share the road, respect one another and make sure all road users are safe.
CUPRA is aiming to become a fully electric car brand by 2030.