In-car technology projects underway in Europe could stop thousands of accidents every year, according to the European Commission.
Driving the development of smarter, safer and cleaner cars is part of the EU's European Information Society 2010 (i2010) strategy to boost growth and jobs in the digital economy.
The 'intelligent car' is one of three i2010 flagship projects aiming to show how IT can improve quality of life. But the EC is warning more work needs to be done.
According to the EU, a series of innovations could put the brakes on accidents across Europe if adopted.
- If all vehicles in the EU were equipped with automatic emergency call technology by 2010, road accident fatalities could be reduced by five to 15 per cent. The system could also reduce time lost to traffic congestion by between 10 and 20 per cent, with cost savings of €2bn to €4bn.
- Autonomous Cruise Control could prevent up to 4,000 accidents per annum if just three per cent of vehicles were equipped with it by 2010.
- Systems to warn if a car is wandering out of its lane could prevent 1,500 accidents per year, even if a mere 0.6 per cent of vehicles had it installed in four years - or 14,000 accidents if take-up was more like seven per cent.
- The Awake project is developing a driver 'hypovigilance' system that wakes up drowsy drivers, and estimates its work can prevent up to 30 per cent of fatal crashes on motorways and nine per cent of all fatal crashes.