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With safety a major priority for European carmakers

and for the EU, a new initiative is working to accelerate


the uptake of new active safety systems in road vehicles
and infrastructure.
Current safe vehicles face two related problems. First,
the traditional architecture of safety applications one
sensor for one application with one human interaction is
expensive and limiting. Second, too many safety applications
can confuse drivers in critical situations. PReVENT,
together with the EU-funded AIDE integrated project,

is

investigating how and when information is


brought to the
driver via the human-machine interface. The new
system
will identify dangers and provide information,
warning or
intervention without overloading the driver.
Meeting critical safety goals
If every vehicle on every road were equipped with the
existing safety technology, we could reach the goals outlined
in the eSafety report, says Flament, but the situation
is not simple. Many parameters have to be taken
into account, including vehicle life cycles, market introductions,
product differentiation, and political priorities.
But by simplifying the architecture and working on critical
safety applications, PReVENT is certainly contributing to
the more rapid introduction of safety applications in all
classes of vehicle.
According to the 2002 report of the EUs eSafety Working
Group, about 95% of road accidents involve some level

of human error, while 75% are caused by human error


alone. This means improving road safety must involve
finding ways to make it easier to drive safely. Although a
drivers state of mind and level of alertness are obviously
crucial, safety-optimised vehicles and infrastructure can
also play a major role.
There are many existing preventive and active safety
technologies that could contribute to reducing road fatalities
in Europe, explains Maxime Flament of ERTICO ITS
Europe. These include seat belt warnings, alcohol locks,
anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability programmes
(ESP), and eCall, which automatically calls emergency
services in the event of an accident. Newer technologies
are also set to come on line in the near future, including
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Systems
(LKS) and vehicle-based speed assistance.
New European initiative leads the way
PReVENT is an Integrated Project representing a combined
investment of some 55 million by the European automotive
industry and the EU. The applications and technologies
developed within PReVENT are the next steps towards
safer and more intelligent cars, says Flament.