ANCAP will test the behavior of new cars underwater from 2023

Australia’s Independent Vehicle Safety Assessor will soon make it harder for new cars to achieve a five-star rating, introducing tougher criteria and even tougher test scenarios from next year.


Independent New Car Safety Assessor ANCAP is set to start grading vehicles on how easily they allow occupants to escape when submerged in floodwaters, and how well they prevent young children from being inadvertently left behind in cars, as part of changes that are expected to come into effect next year.

From 2023, the Australasian New Car Assessment Scheme will make it harder for new cars to achieve a coveted five-star score by implementing tougher and more specific assessment criteria to see how cars perform in a variety of crash-test and security scenarios.

One of the major changes will require manufacturers “to demonstrate how their new vehicles can make it easier for occupants to escape from a submerged vehicle, or for rescuers to gain access to trapped occupants”.



“Vehicles trapped in flood waters or those that end up in a lake, river or other body of water pose a hazard to their occupants and present challenges for first responders,” ANCAP said in a statement. communicated.

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

Collision avoidance testing will also expand significantly in 2023, with new scenarios to include a child pedestrian passing behind a reversing vehicle, a cyclist crossing the path of a turning vehicle on a side street, and a cyclist approaching a vehicle from behind as its occupants open the car doors.



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

While the safety body has been testing Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems since 2018 – assessing their ability to react to other cars, pedestrians and cyclists – it will soon expand to include systems that detect and respond to motorcycles .

“Referred to as AEB Powered-Two-Wheeler, the vehicles will be required to be equipped with an AEB system capable of braking a motorcycle in intersection cornering scenarios and when a motorcycle crosses in front of a car,” ANCAP said.



“Vehicles will also be tested for their ability to detect and prevent side-slip accidents with a motorcycle through more sophisticated active lane assist systems.”

In addition, AEB systems will soon be tested on their ability to prevent frontal collisions and collisions at intersections.

ANCAP will also introduce a new piece of equipment that closely resembles an adult’s leg, to provide greater insight into specific injury risks presented by vehicles.



The Safety Assessor, which was established in 1992, typically updates its protocols every two years, but the most recent major changes were last implemented in 2020 as COVID caused a gap in three years between that and the next round of updates.

As since 2018, a car’s overall rating will continue to be made up of scores achieved in four key areas: Adult Occupant (40%), Child Occupant (20%), Vulnerable Road User Protection (20%) and Security. Assist (20%).

ANCAP encourages consumers to seek to purchase a vehicle with the most recent five-star rating possible, to ensure it has the latest crash protection and avoidance features.



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

Susannah Guthrie

Susannah Guthrie has been a journalist since the age of 18 and has spent the past two years writing about cars for Drive, CarAdvice, CarSales and as an automotive columnist for several in-flight and hotel magazines. Susannah’s background is news journalism, followed by several years in celebrity journalism, entertainment journalism and fashion magazines and a brief stint hosting a television travel show for Channel Ten. She joined Drive in 2020 after spending a year and a half leading online platforms Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE. Susannah holds a BA in Media and Communications from the University of Melbourne and cut her teeth as an intern at Time Inc in New York. She also took a course in television presentation with the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and one-year-old son who, despite her best efforts, is yet to enjoy a good road trip.

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