The AA has welcomed European safety organisation Euro NCAP’s introduction of a new test that will check devices installed in vehicles to detect and prevent collisions with pedestrians.

Many new cars now offer some form of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system that can help prevent car-to-car collisions, but only some are also able to detect pedestrians.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “While the autonomous car debate has so far focused on who is to blame, manufacturer or driver, when or if the technology fails, autonomous emergency braking doesn’t absolve the driver from responsibility in an accident but could reduce the consequences considerably.

“Twenty per cent of pedestrian fatalities could be avoided with uptake of effective autonomous braking systems. However neither drivers nor pedestrians, cyclists and other more vulnerable road users should depend on all cars stopping automatically and so will still need their wits about them and shouldn’t take unnecessary risks.

“Euro NCAP has an impressive track record in showing what is possible in reducing road collisions and encouraging manufacturers to adopt the new features. Hundreds of thousands of road users owe their lives to this nearly 20-year-old programme.”