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1000 cars for greater safety

Now that the four-year research project has come to an end, the results of the European Field Operational Test (euroFOT) have been made public. Eight driver assistance systems that have been on the market since 2008 were comprehensively tested. Of the 28 partners from the automotive industry, research institutions and universities, the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) had been entrusted with the effectiveness analysis.

For the test 1,000 specially equipped cars and heavy goods vehicles were out and about on Europe's roads for more than twelve months, driven by a variety of drivers. Every time the cars made a turn, increased or reduced their speed or changed lanes, movement values were tracked and documented. Moreover, drivers and driving situations were recorded on film in many of the cars. The research project studied the potential of the driver assistance systems to increase traffic safety and efficiency, the drivers' willingness to accept the systems, improvements in driving behavior, the fuel-saving potential and the corresponding impact on the environment.

"In the past, any evaluation of these systems had to rely on forecasts and a large number of assumptions. For the first time this large-scale field test now provides genuine scientific data on acceptance, use and efficiency that clearly demonstrate the increased safety provided by systems that are already available," said Johann Gwehenberger, Head of Accident Research at AZT. The results speak for themselves. For instance, simply by using adaptive cruise control in combination with the forward collision warning system, 42 percent of all forward collisions on highways could be avoided.

 

Allianz will be making use of euroFOT results for international insurance products

The commitment to the euroFOT project is an important part of the Allianz Global Automotive strategy. As a development partner of the automotive industry Allianz provides support to its partners in a wide range of areas: from research and development to production, sales, after sales and claims handling. 

"The data that were gathered in real-life traffic are particularly important to Allianz", explains Karsten Crede, CEO of Allianz Global Automotive. "They enable us to even better evaluate the impact of driver assistance systems on insurance claims and to develop insurance products for the international market with our partners in the automotive industry that take account of the accident reduction potential."

 

euroFOT field test results

Given the real measurements and experience in the field, accident researchers at the Allianz Center for Technology are optimistic that using driver assistance systems of the current and the next generation can result in an even greater increase in safety. A fast time-to-market, which Allianz will continue to support in the long term by means of awareness campaigns for drivers and corresponding insurance products, is an absolute must.

The euroFOT practical test focused on eight individual driver assistance functions. In addition to a variety of insights into the influence on traffic efficiency and fuel consumption, the following research results on traffic safety are of particular significance:

Karsten Crede, CEO of Allianz Global Automotive
Karsten Crede, CEO of Allianz Global Automotive: "The data that were gathered in real-life traffic are particularly important to Allianz"
Functions like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning increase safety and were highly appreciated by the drivers in the test.

Functions like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning increase safety and were highly appreciated by the drivers in the test. 

1 + 2. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and forward collision warning system (FCW)

  • The number of sharp braking maneuvers is reduced significantly (highway: -67 percent, country roads: -45 percent, in towns: -32 percent)
  • The number of critical distances to the vehicle in front is reduced significantly (highway: -73 percent, country roads: -81 percent, in towns: -63 percent)
  • The number of near misses is reduced significantly (highway: -32 percent, rural roads: -45 percent, in towns: -2 percent)
  • High degree of use of ACC on highways (switched on 52 percent of the time)
  • 31 percent of drivers make use of ACC on rural roads
  • The prevention potential of forward collisions on the highway is 42 percent (on rural roads up to 14 percent)
  • The drivers participating in the survey emphasized that ACC and FCW are functions that are greatly appreciated and much used, given that they increase both driving comfort and safety.

 

3. Lane departure warning (LDW)

  • Improved lane adherence, as well as reduction of the average turning angle
  • Improved use of indicators

 

4. Navigation systems

  • High degree of acceptance, in particular during long journeys and on unfamiliar routes
  • Driver behavior is significantly improved, in particular as regards changing lanes, keeping an appropriate distance to vehicles in front and reducing the need for sharp braking maneuvers

 

5. Blind spot information system (BLIS)

  • 80 percent of drivers were of the view that BLIS improves safety (particularly useful in heavy inner-city traffic, no additional burden)
  • Important supplement to visual checks (looking over one's shoulder)

 

6 + 7. Speed limiter (SL) + cruise control (CC)

  • Reduction of journeys at excessive speeds
  • Fewer abrupt braking maneuvers
  • Fewer critical distances

 

8. Curve speed warning (CSW)

  • 75% of drivers were of the view that CSW increases safety (particularly useful on rural roads).
  • CSW supports defensive driver behavior.

Allianz Global Automotive

Allianz Global Automotive was set up in 2010 to further expand international cooperation with the automotive industry for insurance solutions and mobility services and to develop global strategic partnerships. Allianz Global Automotive works in 28 countries across the globe with 44 car brands and generated more than 2 billion euros in gross written premiums in 2011. In Germany, Allianz has already been a successful and reliable partner of automotive manufacturers and dealers for more than 60 years.

 

About the euroFOT consortium

euroFOT, the first large-scale European Field Operational Test of modern driver assistance systems, consists of a consortium of 28 organizations including vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, universities, research institutes and other stakeholder groups. The project that was headed up by FORD developed the first large-scale field test focusing on intelligent vehicles equipped with modern driver assistance systems that were used in real traffic by ordinary drivers. The motivation for euroFOT was to evaluate a variety of vehicle functions as regards their traffic safety, efficiency and impact on the environment. In addition user-friendliness and acceptance were also comprehensively assessed. It is of particular importance for the White Paper of the European Commission "European Action Programme for Road Safety 2011-2020" that was published in 2010 with the aim of halving the number of fatalities in traffic accidents in Europe over the next decade. This joint research project ran from May 2008 to June 2012 and was funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) under the umbrella of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The final results were presented in Brussels on June 26-27, 2012.   

The euroFOT consortium members include Ford, BMW, Daimler AG, Centro Ricerche Fiat, MAN Truck & Bus AG, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Technology Corporation, Audi Volkswagen AG, Bosch, Continental, Delphi, Harman International, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS), Bundesanstalt fur Straßenwesen (BAST), RWTH Aachen, Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge, Aachen (ika), Centre Européen d’Etudes de Sécurité et d’Analyse des Risques (CEESAR), Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola Aktiebolag, Fundación para la Promoción de la Innovación, Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico de la Industria de Automoción de Galicia (CTAG), University of Leeds, Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l’aménagement et des réseaux (IFSTTAR), Interdisziplinäres Zentrum fur Verkehrswissenschaftenan der Universität Würzburg (IZVW), Politecnico di Torino, Nederlandse Organisatie voor toegepast-natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek (TNO), Allianz Center for Technology, ADAS, ALCOR, ERTICO – ITS Europe and European Center for Information and Communication Technologies GmbH (EICT).

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Christian Weishuber
Allianz Deutschland AG
Phone +49.89.3800-18169
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