The mayor of Witney was driven at around 20mph at a seven-year-old child – but it was only a dummy and it was all in the interests of testing a car’s safety systems.

Cllr Joy Aitman took part in a live ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) demonstration at Moshon Data.

The Witney-based company specialises in manufacturing soft foam or inflatable targets such as pedestrians, shopping trolleys or animals that are commonly involved in collisions such as deer or moose.

These allow car manufacturers to test vehicle safety technology, such as auto emergency braking, in a safe and controlled environment before vehicles make it onto the road for public use.

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Their other soft targets include full and half sized cars, motorbikes and bicycles and even city scapes with inflatable buildings and junctions.

Some of their products are used by Oxbotica at Culham Science Centre to test the company’s autonomous vehicle technology.

For the demonstration the striking crash test target was made of styrofoam and represented a seven-year-old child.

Managing director Steve Boyle said: “We were delighted that Cllr Aitman took the time to visit us and got involved in our live demonstration.

“By doing events such as these, we hope to raise awareness of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and show how they can prevent collision accidents.”

The demonstration lasted approximately one hour and took place in a fully risk assessed and Covid secure environment.

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Cllr Aitman said she was so impressed by the braking system it made her feel everyone should have one in their car.

She said: "It just stopped dead. The technology also reads speed signage - I was very interested in the implications for how councils plan their roads."

She added: "It was amazing to see what they are doing. It is nice to see a small company in Witney working internationally with car manufacturers."