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APROSYS and APSN – new EU-funded actions target road safety

Launched on 6 April 2004 in Brussels, APROSYS is an ambitious new initiative aimed at improving passive safety for European road users. Its kick-off meeting was followed on 7 April by the launch of the related European Advanced Passive Safety Network (APSN).

APROSYS and APSN – new EU-funded actions target road safety

APROSYS is a five-year Integrated Project, bringing together 46 partners from 12 countries, with EU funding totalling €18 million. “The aim is the development and introduction of critical technologies that improve passive safety for all Europeans,” said Jac Wismans of TNO Automotive. “This includes all relevant accident types and severities. At the same time we expect to help increase the competitiveness of the European automotive industry.”

Jac Wismans with APROSYS coordinator Michiel van Ratingen
Jac Wismans with APROSYS coordinator Michiel van Ratingen

APROSYS identifies four categories of road user to benefit from its outcomes: car occupants; motorcyclists; truck occupants; and pedestrians and pedal cyclists. “Our goal is to see a reduction in road deaths by 15 000 once the results are fully integrated,” said Wismans. Current statistics show about 40 000 Europeans die every year in road accidents.

Concrete results to come
The consortium plans to make several specific contributions to European road safety. Among the expected results are:

  • Development of new injury criteria;
  • New mathematical models of the human body;
  • A worldwide, harmonised, small female crash-test dummy for side impact testing;
  • Development of knowledge and tools for design, implementation and evaluation of intelligent safety systems;
  • Enhanced virtual testing technologies;
  • Test methods and advanced protection systems for injury reduction.
Patrick Mercier Handisyde
Patrick Mercier Handisyde

Work will be divided into eight subprojects. Coordination will be left largely to the consortium. “APROSYS is one of the first of the new Integrated Projects to be launched under the Union’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6),” explained the EC’s Patrick Mercier Handisyde, addressing the assembled partners. “One of the main differences as we move from FP5 and FP6 is that we are now encouraging a more integrative approach. Bringing the results of the subprojects together is going to be a major challenge for all of you. The EC is here to help, but it remains to you to manage and coordinate your efforts and to come home with a positive and coherent result.”

APSN launch
Many of the participants in APROSYS stayed in Brussels for the APSN launch the following day. Aimed at the establishment of a long-term integrated research programme, this Network of Excellence will create a permanent, self-sustaining organisation in the field of European road transport passive safety.

APSN objectives will be achieved through the execution of an annual Joint Programme of Activities, including:

  • Integrated activities;
  • Jointly executed research activities;
  • Spreading of excellence activities;
  • Management activities.

A flexible structure will allow for the efficient and coordinated mobilisation of European scientific and industrial expertise. Members come from 19 countries and include vehicle and biomechanical specialists, restraint system manufacturers, computer modelling and software companies as well as research and academic institutes.

Background: EVPSN and EVPSN 2
Launched in 1998, the European Vehicle Passive Safety Network was aimed at reducing the number of road traffic victims through the establishment of co-operative relationships among the automotive industry, safety systems suppliers, research institutions and universities. Running for four years, the original network organised 16 workshops, one training session, seven state-of-the-art reports and created a new website. EVPSN also initiated a cluster of 15 R&D project proposals under the EU’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), 13 of which were accepted for funding.

EVPSN 2, the successor to the original network, was launched in 2002 and will run through 2004. Building on the infrastructure established by its predecessor, EVPSN 2 seeks to solidify working relationships among all the relevant passive safety players, linking current network members with the growing number of clustered Community-funded projects in the field of passive safety.

Specific EVPSN 2 objectives include:

  • Stimulating technology transfer
  • Providing a platform for ‘knowledge brokering’
  • Facilitating co-operation
  • Clustering of research projects
  • Establishing links with related networks
  • Identifying gaps in research and initiating new R&D projects
  • Promoting the interests of the passive safety community
  • Disseminating research results

World Health Day highlights road safety
The APROSYS and APSN launches coincided with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s World Health Day, this year focussing on road safety. Around the globe, hundreds of organisations hosted events to help raise awareness about road traffic injuries, their grave consequences and enormous costs to society.

Speaking in Paris on 7 April 2004, WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said, “Motorised road transport has changed the face of employment, trade, family life and health care, bringing benefits that were unimaginable 100 years ago. However, the price we are paying for such benefits is too high. This is why we have chosen road safety as the theme for World Health Day 2004…”

According to Mercier Handisyde, the EU has set the ambitious goal of reducing European road deaths by one half by 2010. APROSYS and APSN are seen as major contributors to reaching this target.