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Network of Excellence on Advanced Passive Safety

Following the mobilisation of critical R&D mass on vehicle passive safety in EU Thematic Network projects like PSN & EVPSN2, APSN is aiming at a durable integrated European vehicle passive safety research and implementation programme, and the creation of a virtual institute (VI).

Tags: Road


The growing demand for greater mobility in European society has made transportation an essential feature of modern living. However, the price paid for mobility in European society is far too high. Though the number of road accidents dropped significantly at the beginning of the 1990s, the trend has been less marked in recent years. In 2000, road accidents killed over 40 000 people in the EU and injured more than 1.7 million. The directly measurable cost of road accidents is in the order of € 45 billion.

The European Commission advocates a cost-benefit approach in the formulation of future road safety policy: there is economic justification for taking measures valued up to € 1 million in order to save one single life. The White Paper European transport policy for 2010: time to decide calls for a reduction by half in the numbers of deaths on the road in this decade. This reduction can be reached through vigorous research actions to reach socio-economic improvements, among others a European network of excellence on passive safety of vehicles and road infrastructure.

Another important objective is the strengthening of the European automotive industry competitiveness for the future. The integration of knowledge and resources to design and build cost-effective and safer vehicles will contribute to this goal.


The aim of this Network of Excellence (NoE) is to mobilise the European scientific and business expertise in vehicle passive safety to accelerate improvements in road safety in order to reduce the annual road victims in the European Union. The specific objectives of this NoE are:

  • to create a permanent organisation (virtual centre of excellence) in the field of passive safety
  • to further integrate research activities at European, national and regional level
  • to facilitate technology transfer in order to accelerate the dissemination of ongoing research activities
  • to provide a platform for ‘knowledge brokering’ where users and providers are brought together for knowledge transfer
  • to cluster Community funded and nationally funded projects in the field of passive safety
  • to establish links with initiatives in neighbouring fields of interest like active vehicle safety, road infrastructure, railway safety and aircraft safety
  • to identify ‘white spots’ and initiate new RTD projects in the areas of restraint systems, materials, biomechanics and computer simulation
  • to provide a platform for promoting the interests of the vehicle passive safety community with policy-makers and (inter)national legislative bodies
  • to accelerate the dissemination of results of passive safety research, as well as the implementation and harmonisation of new and proven passive safety measures throughout Europe.
NoE APSN Structure
NoE APSN Structure

Description of work

The focus of the APSN activities will be on those topics that will contribute to a progressive and durable integration. In particular:

  • develop and start a coordinated programme for the sharing of facilities and setting-up common research guidelines
  • analyse the financial, legal (including Intellectual Property Rights) and organisational issues regarding the set-up of an association or other type of legal entity, and formalise the collaboration
  • develop and start a coordinated programme for new knowledge generation and sharing
  • develop and start a clustered joint research agenda related to road (vehicles) (passive) safety in consultation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the field
  • develop and start a coordinated programme for the exchange and training of researchers
  • develop and demonstrate the new APSN/VI website portal, hosting the (completed) APSN databases, the encyclopaedia and other functionalities.


The results of the NoE will include:

  • Advanced Passive Safety Network website and portal
  • shared virtual testing capabilities
  • inventory of training courses and existing exchange programmes
  • programme for the exchange and training of researchers/students
  • clustered joint research programme
  • bi-monthly electronic bulletins with information on calls, proposed consortia, kick-off meetings, state of proposals, etc.
  • a durable structure to find and analyse technology trends and market needs
  • a structure to publish the results (e.g. commercial workshops)
  • possible establishment of the VI organisation/legal entity
  • research criteria and legal/financial/organisational guidelines for sharing facilities/tools
  • a permanent structure for setting-up and updating guidelines for biomechanical testing, including ethical issues.