Euro NCAP will include cars' autonomous emergency braking systems in its star ratings from 2014.
The European car safety assessment company said autonomous emergency braking systems, which are still rare on European cars, can reduce accidents by up to 27 pc.
But only 21 pc of car models on sale in Europe today have such systems, Euro NCAP said. And two-thirds of all carmakers don't offer the technology at all.
Euro NCAP wants emergency braking to become mandatory on all new vehicle types. "A faster penetration of these technologies into new cars will make it more realistic for the European Union to reach its target to cut road deaths by 50 pc by 2020," said Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP.
Autonomous emergency braking systems can help avoid crashes or lessen their impact by warning a driver and supporting his braking response by applying the brakes independently. The technology uses forward-looking radar, lidar and video systems to provide a complete, accurate, real-time image of the road ahead.
Euro NCAP said in a press release that Volvo, Infiniti and Mercedes have the best levels of standard emergency braking fitment. It also cited Jaguar, Range Rover, Audi and Lexus, which provide the technology as an option.
Germany's Continental, which, like many other automotive suppliers, relies increasingly on electrical and electronic products, welcomed the Euro NCAP move.
"The high levels of effectiveness of advanced driver assistancy systems are truly a safety advance that will bring about global improvements in traffic safety," said Ralf Cramer, head of Continental's chassis & safety division. He noted that emergency brake assist technology will become a European requirement for trucks at the end of 2013 already.
Continental said it is confident that Euro NCAP's expanded testing will help boost the introduction of advanced driving assistance technology into most vehicle segments.