Ford is awarded the 2012 Allianz Genius Safety Prize

This year, the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) has selected Ford as the winner of the 2012 Allianz Genius Safety Prize. The award is the safety experts' way of honoring Ford's road safety commitment: buyers of the compact class model "Focus" are offered comprehensive safety bundles with a wide range of systems. On June 4 at the "Auto Mobil International" Trade Fair in Leipzig, Karsten Crede, CEO of Allianz Global Automotive and patron of the prize event, awarded the 2012 Allianz Genius Safety Prize to Caspar Dirk Hohage, member of the management board of Ford-Werke GmbH, responsible for Technology.

"After seat belts, driver assistance systems are the most important lifesavers", says Karsten Crede. "This year's winner of the Allianz Genius Safety Prize has made the new driver safety systems available to a wide section of buyers by offering various feature bundles for the Ford Focus - the first time such packages have been offered in the compact car category. This will promote the increased use of these systems and will improve the safety of our roads."

"We are delighted to have been awarded the "Allianz Genius Safety Prize". This prestigious safety prize confirms our market promise "One idea ahead" (Eine Idee weiter). We don't just want to be part of things, we want to lead the field in terms of safety, innovative technology, quality and sustainability. The Allianz Genius Safety Prize confirms and underscores our commitment", says Caspar Dirk Hohage.

From left: Karsten Crede,  CEO of Allianz Global Automotive, awarding the 2012 Allianz Genius Safety Prize to Caspar Dirk Hohage, member of the management board of Ford-Werke GmbH

The accident researchers of Allianz have confirmed this assessment. The intelligent bundling of the systems means that a whole variety of different risk situations can be covered, ranging from small parking damages to rear-impact collisions or the dangers of veering off the road. "We expect an approximate decrease of twenty percent for physical damage losses in vehicles that are equipped with the safety systems and a decrease of approximately ten percent for accidents involving bodily injuries", says Christoph Lauterwasser, CEO of AZT Automotive GmbH.

Active City Stop: A laser sensor monitors the gap between the vehicles in front. If there is a risk of a rear-impact collision, the required braking pressure is made available to shorten the braking distance, or an emergency braking is triggered if the driver fails to react. The system is active at speeds below 30 km/h.

Active Park Assist: The vehicle manoeuvers itself into parallel parking spaces. The driver only has to use the gas and the brake pedals and, where appropriate, the gear stick. This makes parking much easier, particularly if the parking space is tight.

Blind Spot Information System: Radar sensors monitor the blind spots to the right and left of the vehicle. If other vehicles are in the blind spot, the driver is alerted by warning lamps in the side mirrors. This helps drivers when changing lanes by monitoring the area that they cannot see.

Lane-departure warning system with anti-fatigue warning, high beam assistant and traffic sign recognition system: A mono camera films the driving scene in front of the vehicle. If the driver is at a risk of leaving the lane unintentionally, a warning is sent out in the form of vibrations in the steering wheel and the vehicle is guided back into its lane. The driving style and the driver’s attention is evaluated and warnings are sent out if it appears advisable for the driver to take a break. The system automatically switches to full beam whenever there is no risk of blinding other road users. Traffic signs, such as speed limits and overtaking bans, are shown to the driver in the information display.

Allianz is the only insurer to award a road safety prize. The Allianz Genius Safety Prize is awarded for  technological developments that have already been implemented and that help to make traffic safer. The innovation must have shown a lasting decrease in the frequency and severity of accidents. Allianz established the award in order to increase road safety awareness and to motivate car manufacturers to optimize their products by installing innovative safety systems. The previous prize winners were Adam Opel GmbH (2010) for the "Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL)" system, Volvo Car Germany GmbH (2009) for the "City Safety" system, Valeo (2008) for the "Park4U™" parking system, BERU AG (2007) for the "Tire Pressure Safety System (TSS)", DaimlerChrysler AG (2006) for the "Braking Assistant" and Robert Bosch GmbH (2005) for the development and launch of the "Electronic Stability Program (ESP)".

The prize comes in the form of a trophy, which shows a person surrounded by five meridians, which create a protective zone around the body. The figure is in a seated position and resembles a car passenger, creating a strong association with an automobile and the effort to improve protection for both the person and the vehicle. The award's name also reflects this meaning: besides the obvious meaning of an "inspired thinker", the word "genius" refers to an ancient Roman guardian spirit – a "protector of humanity".

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Katerina Piro

Allianz SE
Phone +49.89.3800-16048

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