Although intelligent ICT-based systems already exist, their market take-up has been very slow. Reasons for this include legal and institutional barriers, competition among car-makers, the relatively high cost of intelligent systems, lack of customer demand, and above all a general lack of information on and awareness of the potential benefits of such systems.
Partly to counter this, the PReVENT integrated project is devoting 55 million euro to the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Including over 50 partners, it is made up of sub-projects covering specific road traffic and accident situations.
"What we have are car-safety systems that can support the driver in critical situations," says Maxime Flament PReVENT manager from ERTICO. In essence, the preventive safety applications help a driver to avoid or mitigate accidents by sensing the nature and significance of the danger, while taking into account the driver's own state. But this technology must not take control away from drivers, which would restrict user-acceptance.
Take for instance, the MAPS&ADAS sub-project that is creating safety-enhanced digital maps for a variety of other applications other than just route guidance. "We use digital maps as a predictive sensor," says Vincent Blervaque, project coordinator from ERTICO. "They complement other vehicle speed and position sensors such as lasers and video cameras, which have limited range, to extend the driver horizon at least 300 to 500 metres ahead. For example, a driver can be alerted to what is coming after the next road curve or intersection."
By look at it, I'd say cars will probably be doing a great deal of our driving for us by the time we get to 2020.
Having a rough time imagining how that might happen so soon?
Then be sure to read Driverless Cars Race 130 Miles.