News archive 2004
Tax Breaks for Automotive Safety Systems?
The "Intelligent Vehicle Highway Safety Act of 2004", a bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, could help stimulate the adoption of "Intelligent Vehicle Technology" (IVT) sensing and control systems in US-sold in the U.S. These systems partially include blind-spot detection, collision avoidance, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and pre-crash sensing systems.
The law, if passed, would provide significant tax incentives for both individuals and businesses that purchase vehicles with IVT equipment installed.
These technologies are costly, so government support is likely to be a prerequisite for their widespread adoption beyond the top level of luxury vehicles.
Fearing litigation resulting from an accident involving failure of one of these systems, their makers generally describe them in the U.S. as "convenience" systems rather than "safety" systems.
Will these legal fears inhibit a real update of these technologies on North American roads?
Can IVT vendors overcome some of the technologies' shortcomings and limitations?
Which of the competing technologies -- radar, lidar or optical systems -- will win? Or will they coexist by excelling at different tasks?
eScope Advisors and Observers
The next meeting for the eScope Advisors and Observers will take place 28 September in Brussels. Get involved and register for eSafety activities on this website.
High Level meeting 27 September 2004
The first concrete results from the eSafety Forum Working Groups have now emerged and were discussed at the latest Plenary Meeting 25 March in Brussels. The meeting formulated concrete recommendations for the next steps, but also concluded that the Public Authorities have not been fully integrated with the eSafety initiative and further actions are necessary.
Acting upon this direct recommendation, the Commission is planning to organise a High-Level Meeting on eSafety with the Public Authorities on 27 September. At this meeting, the Commission will give a summary of the results obtained so far, and suggest detailed discussion on the following three topics: In-vehicle emergency call (eCall), Real-Time Traffic and Travel Information (RTTI) and Human-Machine Interaction (HMI). There is a need to decide the way forward for these issues as well as the actions to be taken by the Member State Public Authorities. The Commission hopes for High-Level participation in this meeting, and plans to send out the invitations by the end of July.
11th ITS World Congress & Exhibition
18 - 24 October 2004
The theme for the 11th World Congress on ITS to be held 18-22 October 2004 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan is "ITS for Livable Society" as the combination of three major elements: Safety, Sustainability and Accessibility/Comfortability. ITS Japan expects around 500,000 participants for the various pre- and post Congress events across Japan. The organisers have stressed to the eSafety Forum that eSafety will be an important topic at the event, with a strong focus in the programme and a dedicated area at the Exhibition. Please inform eScope if you are planning any specific eSafety activities at the event.
eCall MoU signed by the European Commission, ERTICO, and ACEA
Mr. Fabio Colasanti, Director-General at the European Commission’s Information-Society Directorate-General, signed together with the representatives of two other major stakeholders, ERTICO, and ACEA a Memorandum of Understanding that aims at realising an interoperable, pan-European in-vehicle emergency call, eCall. The MoU, which is soon expected to be signed by other industrial and public sector stakeholders, provides for a solid basis for the partners to actively contribute to the development and implementation of the eCall in potentially all new vehicles sold in Europe.
In signing the MoU, Mr. Colasanti stated: “The European Commission supports this step towards realisation of interoperable in-vehicle eCalls. The MoU gathers together those organisations that agree on the principles for its introduction across Europe and who thus want to accelerate its deployment. I have today signed the MoU and I would encourage all other stakeholders to sign it as soon as possible to show their own commitment to this important work.”
Technology road maps on the way
The Road Map Working Group has been diligently working to produce road maps for eSafety technologies to support the development of activities in other eSafety Working Groups. Its aim is to draft some simplified implementation road maps, and details such as essential implementation issues for the systems selected will be submitted by September 2004. As an example, a table has been produced for autonomous vehicle-based systems as well as the vehicle and infrastructure based systems of E-call, extended environmental information, RTTI, dynamic traffic management (VMS), local danger warning, and Speed Alert. The tables will be validated in consultation with the key stakeholders. A table has also been drafted showing the eSafety functions against their technical prerequisites.
The next meeting of the Road Map Working Group will take place 14 September in Brussels.
Finland produces plan for national eCall
A consortium commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications has produced a plan for a national eCall pilot to start this autumn 2004. The plan concludes that aftermarket devices will enable more forceful and cost-efficient car fleet penetration than OEM eCall devices. It describes the E-Merge compatible system architecture for a national eCall system as well as accompanying technical specifications. The plan also includes an analysis of user requirements based on an interview study.
According to the plan, Finnish authorities will set up a system for receiving eCalls at the national emergency centres as well as the other required authority infrastructures. The authorities will provide the system for the device manufacturers and vendors in order to already ensure the operation of the devices this year. Next spring, studies on the private sector participation will be carried out, with the overall aim of full nationwide implementation of the authority infrastructures for eCall in the beginning of 2006. The plan is currently only available in Finnish.
Vehicle safety rising in the USA
In the wake of new government data showing that road safety is improving, automakers urged consumers to continue exercising safe driving habits and become more knowledgeable on all the safety features available in today's automobiles. The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued data documenting that the fatality rate on the nation's highways in 2003 was the “lowest since record keeping began 29 years ago”
(see www.nhtsa.dot.gov for more information).
“Motor vehicle safety is among our highest priorities, and our automakers have equipped today's cars and light trucks with more safety features than ever before,” said Robert Strassburger, Vice President, Safety and Harmonization, Alliance. “Consumers are doing their part, too, by buckling up and practicing safe driving habits.”
Since the early days of the automobile, automakers have designed and incorporated a succession of safety features, including all-steel bodies, traction control, energy-absorbing steering columns, headlamps that see around corners, emergency notification systems. A new report, entitled “Obsessed with Safety: Creating a Cocoon of Safety,” provides more examples of safety advancements
(see http://autoalliance.org/archives/000149.html> ).
“While safety technology continues to advance, the most important safety feature in any auto remains the safety belt,” said Strassburger. “If everyone buckled up today, we can save 7,000 lives annually.”
International cooperation meeting
The last meeting in the International Cooperation Working Group took place 17 June in Parma, Italy. Chaired by Mr Martin Rowell of Navteq, the meeting discussed the international aspects of the eSafety initiative and included participants from Europe, the US and Japan. The group made a prioritisation of the international cooperation activities and a paper will soon be released with the results from the discussions
The next meeting of the International Cooperation Working Group will take place 20 October in Nagoya, Japan.
40 HMI experts participated at this 8 June workshop in Brussels. Human-Machine Interaction with increasingly more complex in-vehicle systems is a major concern. To tackle this important issue, the EC published a Recommendation on Safe and Efficient In-vehicle Information and Communication Systems in 2000, which has been welcomed by the industry. The Human-Machine Interaction Working Group is assessing the situation in the light of technical progress in collaboration with the industry and the Member States, and will propose further measures on HMI if necessary. The workshop gave input to the work of moderating the European Statement of Principles (ESoP) and also valuable input for the preparation of the Communication on HMI, which is planned for the first half of 2005.
The next meeting of the HMI Working Group will take place 2 September in Brussels
22 April 2004 - Brussels
The European Union Road Federation will host a roundtable on road infrastructure safety in Brussels on 22 April 2004, bringing together stakeholders from the European Commission, Industry and Academia.
Melexis Safety Trophy
The Melexis Safety Trophy will take place 25 April at the Brabanthal in Leuven, Belgium. More than 40 teams of engineering students and hobbyists have created their own autonomous robot (without remote control) to take part in this annual international robot competition.
The challenge consists of developing an autonomous vehicle that works its way through an obstacle course by means of intelligent sensors. The track resembles a real traffic situation, including road markings, obstacles, traffic signs and other vehicles.
European Road Safety Charter signed
On 6 April, 39 companies and associations signed the European Road Safety Charter in Dublin, Ireland. Part of the European Road Safety action programme - which aims to halve the number of road accident victims in the EU by 2010 - The charter initiative is expected to last three years.
Read the speech of Loyola de Palacio
World Health Day - 07 April
World Health Day (WHD) is the annual event marking the establishment of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is celebrated on 7 April. This year The World Health Day was dedicated to the prevention of road accidents and the promotion of increased physical activity.