The FINANCIAL -- The European research project euroFOT has
demonstrated the increased safety provided by driver assistance systems
in real traffic for the first time.
The Allianz Center for Technology supported this effectiveness analysis. Allianz will be making use of these results for its global strategic partnerships with the automotive industry.
Now that the four-year research project has come to an end, the results of the European Field Operational Test 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. As Allianz reported, 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."
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:
1 + 2. Adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning system -- The number of sharp braking maneuvers is reduced significantly. The number of critical distances to the vehicle in front is reduced significantly. The number of near misses is reduced significantly. High degree of use of ACC on highways. 31 percent of drivers make use of ACC on rural roads. The prevention potential of forward collisions on the highway is 42 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.
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. CSW supports defensive driver behavior.