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Brussels, 14 September 2005
What are “intelligent cars” and i2010 flagship initiatives?
Promoting the development of cars that are smarter, safer and cleaner is part of the EU’s “European Information Society 2010” (i2010) strategy to boost growth and jobs in the digital economy (see IP/05/643). The “intelligent car” is one of three i2010 “flagship initiatives” that aim to show how information and communication technology (ICT) can improve our public services and quality of life (the other two are “technologies for an ageing society”, and “digital libraries”).
Why a Commission flagship initiative on the intelligent car?
Modern society depends heavily on mobility. Yet most transport problems, such as congestion of trunk routes and in urban areas, harmful effects on the environment and public health, waste of energy and above all, accidents which cause fatalities, injuries and material damage, have yet to be overcome. The “intelligent car” flagship will be a powerful tool for reaping the benefits of ICT in the transport sector.
Systems that use advanced ICT provide targeted solutions to today’s transport problems. For example, if all vehicles in the EU were equipped with automatic emergency call (eCall) technology by 2010, road accident fatalities could be reduced by 5-10%. Moreover, eCall could reduce time lost to traffic congestion by between 10% and 20%, with cost savings of €2 to 4 billion.
Autonomous Cruise Control (ACC), which helps to avoid rear-end collisions, could save up to 4,000 accidents per annum if 3% of vehicles were equipped with it by 2010.
Lateral Support (lane departure warning and lane change assistant) could save 1,500 accidents per annum if only 0.6% of vehicles were equipped with it by 2010, or 14,000 accidents per annum if 7% of vehicles were equipped with it by 2020.
The AWAKE project, which developed a Driver hypovigilance system that wakes up drowsy drivers, estimated that technology like this could prevent up to 30% of fatal crashes on motorways and 9% of all fatal crashes.
What are the key aims of the Commission’s intelligent car flagship initiative?
The key aim of the “intelligent car” flagship initiative is to accelerate the take-up and use of advanced ICT-based in-vehicle and co-operative systems that make road transport safer and cleaner, by raising user awareness of such systems and their benefits, and by facilitating their deployment.
Activities under this initiative will include raising awareness of R&D results, sharing and publicising best practice and facilitating the deployment of mature technologies and systems in the initial phase of market penetration.
Who are the key players in this flagship initiative?
First we have the citizen, who cannot be expected to invest in technology unless its benefits are clear. Then we have the EU automotive industry, which makes about 17 million vehicles per year and employs, (including its suppliers), close to 2 million people in Europe, with a worldwide turnover of more than € 450 billion. ICT suppliers will also help the automotive industry to boost its competitiveness. Finally, we have EU Member States, which play a vital role in providing political support for technology take-up.
What is the PReVENT project?
PReVENT is a European automotive industry project, co-funded by the European Commission, to improve road safety by developing and preventive safety applications and technologies. The total cost is about €55 million, of which the Commission is contributing €29.8 million.
Preventive safety applications help drivers to avoid or mitigate accidents
by using in-vehicle systems that sense the nature and significance of the
danger, while taking the driver’s state into account.
See also IP/05/1137