Intelligent car technology take-up too slow
Publication date: 23 June 2008
Take-up of intelligent car technologies remains very low, given their potential, says Parliament in an own-initiative report adopted by MEPs. These technologies need to get cheaper, but also to be better publicised, it stresses, noting that if fully deployed, with the necessary infrastructure, EU-wide emergency call technology could save up to 2,500 lives a year on EU roads, and electronic stability control up to 4,000.
Rapporteur Zita Gurmai (PES, HU), who saw her report adopted without amendments, noted that Intelligent Vehicle Systems could substantially reduce the annual death toll on European roads - currently 41,600 as well as alleviating or remedying congestion, environmental and public health problems. The report was adopted with 417 votes in favour 6 against and 5 abstentions.
New systems too expensive for the consumer
But so far, penetration rates for intelligent car systems and applications remain very low in relation to their potential, says the committee. Many consumers cannot afford the new systems, so they need to get cheaper as soon as possible. Members also called for better public information about intelligent cars. Car dealers should play a key role in here, as well as TV and the internet. MEPs called on the Commission to focus its efforts on countries where the availability of intelligent systems is still very low.
Towards a pan-European emergency call system
The House backs plans to roll out the pan-European emergency call system eCall by 2010. In the event of an accident, this system alerts the emergency services automatically, providing the exact location of the vehicle. If fully deployed across the EU, eCall technology, combined with the 112 emergency number, could save up to 2,500 lives a year.
The report calls on the 14 Member States that have yet to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the system's introduction to do so by mid-2008. The Commission is also asked to further develop the regulatory framework for the full harmonisation of 112 emergency call standards and for EU-wide eCall technology using 112.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Members also advocated accelerating the introduction of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which reduces the danger of skidding. It is believed that 4,000 lives could be saved annually, and 100,000 crashes avoided if all cars had ESC. They fully supported the goal of achieving 100% availability of ESC for the model year 2012.
ICTs and the environment
MEPs also asked the European Commission to develop a methodology for measuring the impact of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) on CO2 emissions, arguing that this could help to cut fuel consumption and emissions. Adaptive Cruise Control, which adapts the speed of a car to surrounding traffic, could lead to a 3% overall reduction, they say.
The use of portable or nomadic devices
Members noted that the use and availability of portable or nomadic devices had increased and called on stakeholders to work on ways to ensure that such devices neither distract the driver nor prove dangerous in an accident.
Technology cannot replace training
Finally, MEPs warned that the greater sense of safety promoted by this technology may encourage drivers to take less responsibility, and stressed the primary importance of proper training for drivers.
Source: European Parliament