The vehicle industry is a major global competitive business environment. Vehicle type approval is increasingly taking place at the European level, and requires inter-operability, harmonised development and market introduction of preventive safety applications.
In 2001, the European Commission adopted the White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010, consisting of an analysis of the current transport and mobility situation and an action programme calling for a further 50% reduction of road fatalities by 2010. These targets can only be reached by an integrated and holistic approach.
PReVENT systems are not limited by national borders, but are interoperable throughout Europe and even the world. They open up possibilities for improved mobility on a European scale, which generally supports European economic development.
Research on preventive and active safety
The EU and its concessionaries have played an important role in stimulating research on preventive and active safety since the DRIVE Programme in 1988. Their activities have included:
EUREKA PROMETHEUS: identified the possibility to avoid accidents through Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
The Framework Programme (FP) is the EU’s main instrument for research funding in Europe. Implemented since 1984, FPs are organised into five-year periods.
Fourth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (1994 -1998): The Telematics Applications Programme helped to realise leading-edge systems and applications.
Fifth Framework programme: The Information Society Technologies (IST) programme included research in technologies and applications systems aimed at safer, cleaner and more efficient transport - with specific focus on intelligent safety and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. The Competitive and Sustainable Growth programme included research into safer vehicles and infrastructures as well as accident databases and human behaviour in road transport.
The current Sixth Framework Programme, operational since 1 January 2003, aims for more focused and integrated research at EU level. It is concentrating on structuring the ERA (European Research Area) and strengthening its foundations.
The largest part of the FP’s €17.5 billion budget will be spent on “focusing and integrating” future research activities on seven thematic priority areas, including information society technologies and sustainable development relating to transport research.
The 6th FP introduced IPs (Integrated Projects) as a new instrument which has genuine scientific, industrial, economic “structuring” impacts with an emphasis on clear priorities where cooperation represents a key necessary added value between participating Member States. Unlike all other EC-supported initiatives, an IP is able to build up the critical mass required, acting as a facilitator for scientific challenges that cannot be handled only at the national level.
The eSafety initiative plans to implement many of the recommendations of the EC’s Communication on Safe and Intelligent Vehicles, released in September 2003.