Skip to main content

Secure Propulsion using Advanced Redundant Control

Project description

eSafety of road and air transports Virtual co-pilot to reduce road deaths

Vehicles that can foresee dangers and respond automatically to changing road conditions, traffic and driver mistakes could start rolling along Europe’s roads in the near future.

Though still prototypes, the vehicles developed by researchers working in the SPARC project sit on the cusp of a new generation of cars and trucks that promise to improve road safety dramatically.

Using a combination of sensors, automated decision-support systems and innovative control mechanisms, the smart vehicles help counteract the single biggest cause of traffic accidents: driver error.

Correcting human error

Mistakes by drivers – whether brought on by inattention, fatigue, drinking or simply carelessness – are estimated to cause 95% of the 40 000 fatal accidents that occur on Europe’s roads each year.

Preventing or correcting mistakes by drivers is therefore seen as the single most important way of reducing the number of accidents and meeting the EU’s target of cutting the number of road deaths by half over the coming years. The technology developed in the SPARC project would help achieve that once it makes its way onto the market.

Tested in cars and trucks

The SPARC system has so far been deployed in two prototype vehicles: a Mercedes-Benz Actros truck and a small Smart car built by project coordinator DaimlerChrysler.

Unlike most modern vehicles that use mechanical components to control the vehicle, both prototypes were designed with electromechanical systems.

Known as ‘x-by-wire’ or ‘drive-by-wire’, the electronic control system is similar to the technology used to fly aircraft with high precision by turning driver commands into electronic signals that are fed through an onboard computer.

X-by-wire not only gives drivers more control over their vehicles, they also allow automated systems to lend a helping hand.

Virtual co-pilot

A control system that can make decisions constitutes a kind of virtual co-pilot. Using information gathered from several sources – such as cameras, radar, GPS and a human-machine interface – the SPARC system can reliably monitor road conditions and driver behaviour.

It can predict upcoming hazards and respond to them if the driver does not. The system could, for example, slow the car down if the driver is approaching a sharp bend too fast, or pull the truck over to the side of the road if it detects that the driver has fallen asleep.

Cars driving themselves?

Though the system leaves the driver in control for most of the journey, it instantly steps in and takes corrective measures as soon as it detects an imminent risk – be it a braking car in front or an erratic turn of the wheel.

However, much of the technology developed by the researchers in the SPARC project could contribute to the development of vehicles that drive themselves. In theory, fully automated vehicles that take the human driver out of the equation could be even safer still.

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-IST-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Coordinator

DAIMLER AG
Address
Mercedesstr. 137
D-70327 Stuttgart
Germany
EU contribution
€ 1 771 833

Participants (29)

AUSTRIAMICROSYSTEMS AG
Austria
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Schloss Premstaetten, Tobelbaderstrasse 30
8141 Unterpremstaetten
ENGINEERING CENTER STEYR GMBH & CO KG
Austria
EU contribution
€ 163 000
Address
Steyrer Strasse 32
4300 St. Valentin
ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Ecublens
1015 Lausanne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZURICH
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Tannenstrasse 3
8092 Zuerich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
RUDOLF SCHADOW GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 100 010
Address
Holzhauserstrasse 26-32
13059 Berlin
JULIUS-MAXIMILIANS UNIVERSITAET WUERZBURG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 69 000
Address
Roentgenring 11
97070 Wuerzburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
IRION MANAGEMENT CONSULTING GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 210 000
Address
Taegermoosstrasse 10
Konstanz
Activity type
Other
SIMTEC, SIMULATION TECHNOLOGY GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 175 000
Address
Hermann-blenk-strasse 34
38108 Braunschweig
DUERR ASSEMBLY PRODUCTS GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 225 000
Address
Koellnerstrasse 122-128
66346 Puettlingen
UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART
Germany
EU contribution
€ 794 388
Address
Pfaffenwaldring 27
70569 Stuttgart
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
CONTINENTAL TEVES AG & CO. OHG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Guerickestrasse 7
D-60488 Frankfurt Am Main
MOTOROLA GMBH

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 216 041
Address
Lilienthalstrasse 15
85579 Neubiberg
SIEMENS AG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 159 894
Address
Siemensstrasse
93026 Regensburg
VDO AUTOMOTIVE AG

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 414 722
Address
Wittelsbacherplatz 2
80333 Muenchen
IQ POWER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 278 000
Address
Inselkammerstrasse 2-4
82008 Unterhaching
ETAS ENTWICKLUNGS-UND APPLIKATIONWERKZEUGE FUER ELEKTRONISCHE SYSTEME GMBH & CO.KG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 198 000
Address
Borsigstrasse 10
70469 Stuttgart
KOEGEL FAHRZEUGWERKE GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 112 000
Address
Daimlerstrasse14
89079 Ulm
ESTOP ENGINEERING GMBH & CO. KG.

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
An Der Hartmuehle 10
82229 Seefeld
FREESCALE HALBLEITER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 117 612
Address
Schatzbogen 7
81829 Muenchen
GEORG FISCHER VERKEHRSTECHNIK GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Julius-buehrer-strasse 12
78224 Singen
DEUTSCHES ZENTRUM FUER LUFT - UND RAUMFAHRT EV
Germany
EU contribution
€ 153 027
Address
Lilienthalplatz 7
38022 Braunschweig
Activity type
Research Organisations
CAS MUENCHEN GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 39 951
Address
Lillienthalstr. 15
85579 Neubiberg
SIEMENS VDO AUTOMOTIVE

Participation ended

France
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
1 Avenue Paul Ourliac
31036 Toulouse
MANUFACTURE FRANCAISE DES PNEUMATIQUES MICHELIN
France
EU contribution
€ 50 000
Address
23 Place Des Carmes
63000 Clermont Ferrand
KNORR-BREMSE FEKRENDSZEREK KFT
Hungary
EU contribution
€ 342 000
Address
Major Utca 69
H-1119 Budapest
YAMAR ELECTRONICS LTD
Israel
EU contribution
€ 178 000
Address
Shimon Haratsi 17
62492 Tel Aviv
CENTRO RICERCHE FIAT SCPA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 252 000
Address
Strada Torino 50
10043 Orbassano (To)
Activity type
Research Organisations
SKF INDUSTRIE S.P.A.
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 202 575
Address
Kelvinbaan 16
3430 Niewegein
HALDEX BRAKE PRODUCTS AB
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 277 932
Address
Instrumentgatan 15
26124 Landskrona