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i2010 Intelligent Car Initiative (third eSafety communication)

The European Commission’s Intelligent Car Initiative is designed to promote the use of new technologies to make cars safer, cleaner and more efficient. The Initiative aims to provide an answer to social problems related to road transport, primarily accidents and traffic congestion.

ACT

Commission communication of 15 February 2006 on the Intelligent Car Initiative – "Raising Awareness of ICT for Smarter, Safer and Cleaner Vehicles” [COM(2006) 59 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The increased use of road transport brings with it a number of worrying problems: congestion of road networks and urban areas, harmful effects on the environment and public health, waste of energy and, above all, injuries, material damage and fatal accidents. The Intelligent Car Initiative is intended to help resolve these road traffic problems.

POTENTIAL OF INTELLIGENT CARS

The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in building intelligent cars can contribute towards:

  • increasing road safety;
  • making transport systems more efficient;
  • using fuel more efficiently;
  • helping drivers to prevent or avoid accidents;
  • providing drivers with real-time information about the road network in order to avoid congestion;
  • enabling drivers to optimise journeys.

More specifically, studies have shown that the use of ICT could enable the number of accidents in the European Union (EU) to be reduced considerably. For example, 1 500 accidents a year could be avoided if 0.6 % of vehicles were equipped with systems helping them to stay in lane or to overtake.

JUSTIFICATION FOR EUROPEAN ACTION

Despite their potential, most intelligent systems are not yet on the market. The vehicles equipped with new-generation systems are mainly top-of-the-range cars representing only a small percentage of the market.

The large-scale deployment of active safety systems (ABS, adaptive cruise control, etc.), has sometimes faced numerous obstacles, including legal barriers, the high cost of intelligent systems and the lack of public information. Moreover, the extremely competitive situation in the automotive sector creates conditions which are unfavourable to the development of these systems.

A comprehensive approach at EU level will enable harmonised solutions to be found. This will involve removing obstacles to market deployment, stimulating product demand and building consensus among key players. Moreover, pollution, road safety and congestion are problems common to all the Member States. Action at European level is therefore all the more appropriate.

OBJECTIVES OF THE INITIATIVE

Coordination of effort

The first objective of the initiative is to support and coordinate the work of relevant stakeholders, citizens, Member States and the industry in order to speed up the development and application of intelligent systems.

In this context, the eSafety Forum has a vital role to play. Set up in 2003, the Forum aims to remove the obstacles preventing intelligent vehicle systems from entering the market.

In addition to the Forum’s work, the initiatives which will be taken in support of this first objective also include:

  • following up and reporting on the actions proposed in the second eSafety communication "Bringing eCall to Citizens". The follow-up will relate mainly to the signature of the memorandum of understanding on the eCall system by Member States, implementation of the single emergency numbers 112 and E112, and upgrading the PSAPs (Public Service Answering Points);
  • presenting a Commission recommendation on the design and safe use of Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI);
  • investigating the possibility of using incentive schemes at national level to stimulate the purchase of vehicles equipped with safety functions;
  • examining spectrum needs in the context of vehicle-to-vehicle communication and assessing the implications of the Intelligent Car Initiative for spectrum use;
  • following up the recommendation on the establishment of a European Code of Practice for the development and testing of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

Supporting research and development (R&D) work

The long-term objectives of the Intelligent Car Initiative form part of the information and communication technologies priority of the 7th R&D Framework Programme.

To support research and development in the sphere of smarter, cleaner and safer vehicles, the Commission proposes the following action:

  • targeting research at the needs of the next generation of driver assistance systems, (in particular enhanced performance, reliability, security and reduced fuel consumption) and undertaking additional research work on traffic and traveller information services;
  • implementing, through the 7th R&D Framework Programme, an assessment programme based on field operational tests to assess in real environments the impact of intelligent systems on driver behaviour and driving dynamics;
  • setting up an independent conformance testing and performance assessment programme for road safety and efficiency systems based on ICT.

Awareness

The third objective of the Intelligent Car Initiative is to promote the dissemination of information to a wide audience in order to make drivers and policymakers aware of the potential of intelligent vehicle systems. This greater awareness will help to stimulate user demand and to promote socio-economic acceptance.

Within this awareness component, the Commission proposes the following action:

  • holding regular i2010 Intelligent Car Initiative events;
  • producing television series or documentaries on ICT-based systems and launching a comprehensive benchmarking study on ongoing activities in promoting intelligent vehicle systems in the Member States and in the industry;
  • establishing an eSafety Communication Platform with the aim of improving, coordinating and harmonising the end-user communication of the various stakeholders;
  • supporting and promoting stakeholders’ initiatives which pursue the objectives of the Intelligent Car Initiative.

Background

The Intelligent Car Initiative is part of the EU's i2010 strategy aimed at generally stimulating the development of the digital economy in Europe. It also continues to build on the foundations laid in the 2004 White Paper on transport policy challenges between now and 2010, which seeks, among other things, to reduce by half the number of road fatalities by 2010.

RELATED ACTS

Communication of 17 September 2007 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: “Towards Europe-wide Safer, Cleaner and Efficient Mobility: The First Intelligent Car Report” [COM(2007) 541 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Considerable progress has already been achieved with the Intelligent Car Initiative. In view of the potential benefits that intelligent vehicle systems offer for road safety and the environment, the European Commission proposes new measures to introduce safer, cleaner and smarter vehicles to the market more quickly. It focuses, for instance, on the full-scale roll-out of the “eCall" system, and envisages the adoption, if necessary, of regulatory measures on the availability of electronic stability control (ESC) systems and systems for accident avoidance (ADAS). Provided they comply with Community legislation on taxes and State aid, incentives might also help towards the deployment of intelligent vehicle systems. The Commission also points to the importance of raising consumer awareness in order to create demand for smart vehicles.

Commission communication of 14 September 2005: “2nd eSafety communication – “Bringing eCall to citizens” [COM(2005) 431 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This communication on the roll-out of the eCall system is the second eSafety communication. eCall is a pan-European in-vehicle emergency call system which uses the European emergency number 112 in the event of an accident.
In this communication, the Commission calls on national and regional authorities to carry out the actions and investments necessary for the functioning of eCall. The document also presents the roadmap agreed between the stakeholders to ensure the complete roll-out of the system in 2009.

Commission communication of 15 September 2003: “Information and Communications Technologies for Safe and Intelligent Vehicles” [COM(2003) 542 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this first eSafety communication, the Commission proposes the systematic use of ICT to design safer and smarter vehicles. For this, it proposes three categories of action: promoting intelligent vehicle safety systems, adapting the regulatory and standardisation provisions, and removing the societal and business obstacles.

Commission communication of 2 June 2003: “European Road Safety Action Programme – Halving the number of road accident victims in the European Union by 2010: A shared responsibility” [COM(2003) 311 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The ultimate objective of the Road Safety Action Programme (2003-2010) is to reduce by at least 50 % the number of people killed on the roads by 2010. For this, the programme proposes a range of measures such as stepping up road checks, deploying new road safety technologies, improving road infrastructure, and measures to improve the behaviour of road users.

Commission White Paper of 12 September 2001: “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” [COM(2001) 370 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This White Paper seeks to develop a modern and sustainable transport system for 2010.

Last updated: 27.02.2008

See also

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