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Assessment of Integrated Vehicle Safety Systems for improved vehicle safety

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Testing vehicle safety systems

Safety systems in cars may lower the road toll. Before they can be promoted, the systems must undergo standardised assessment.

Industrial Technologies

In 2009, over 35 000 people died on European roads and a further 1.5 million were injured, costing Europe approximately EUR 130 billion that year. Europe is promoting vehicular Integrated Safety Systems (ISSs) as a solution, and the proposed systems will require testing and assessment. The EU-funded 'Assessment of integrated vehicle safety systems for improved vehicle safety' (ASSESS) consortium took up this challenge. The 15-member project ran from June 2009 to December 2012, aiming to enable widespread introduction of ISSs. That goal required studying integrated vehicle safety systems, plus implementing those results in testing that sets system targets regarding occupant protection. Other ASSESS objecitves were fleshed out in five objectives, covering designing standardised assessment procedures, and promoting their acceptance in consumer and regulatory ratings. Additionally, the project aimed to recommend policies enabling the implementation of key technologies, to overview legal barriers and to study benefits of selected systems. The project's results consisted of developing a methodology for the assessment of ISSs. The system integrates testing of driver behaviour and pre-crash performance with realistic system operation. The project's testing included ways of estimating the benefit of systems offered to the market. ASSESS used existing passive safety tools to study effects of pre-crash actions on performance of the safety system during a crash. ASSESS concluded that driver warning systems provide clear benefits and that they should be included in future testing. Given widespread use of validated systems, the project predicted a 35 % fatality reduction over the next decade. An additional project research area assessed driver behaviour, and made recommendations concerning pre- and post-crash evaluations. All testing tools showed that lower impact speed resulting from pre-braking action substantially reduced the impact forces on vehicle occupants. Pre-braking tensioning similarly reduced injuries, but not to the same degree. Dissemination work included the publication of public reports, distribution of project fliers and newsletters, events and workshops, plus submission of conference and journal papers. The legacy of ASSESS will be a system enabling robust testing of ISSs. This should stimulate demand for certified safety systems, and also provide opportunities for European business.

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