EC initiatives on eSafety
While the European Commission’s Enterprise Directorate has responsibility for eSafety initiatives, the Transport and Energy Directorate leads on road safety strategy.
On June 1, 2005 the Commission adopted the initiative: i2010: European Information Society 2010 for growth and employment. The Intelligent Car is one of the i2010 Flagship Initiatives. The objective is to improve the quality of the living environment by supporting ICT solutions for safer, smarter and cleaner mobility of people and goods. The three pillars are 1) The eSafety Initiative (2) RTD in Information and Communications Technologies and (3) Awareness raising Actions.
The eSafety Initiative is a joint initiative of the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders and aims to accelerate the development, deployment and use of Intelligent Integrated Safety Systems, that use information and communication technologies in intelligent solutions, in order to increase road safety and reduce the number of accidents on Europe's roads.
There have been several European Commission Communications on eSafety. Examples are as follows:
Information and Communications Technologies for Safe and Intelligent Vehicles” COM (2003)542 Final, 15.9.2003 focussed on 3 priorities: eCall (Pan-European eCall); RTTI (Real-Time Traffic & Travel Information) and HMI (Human-Machine Interaction).
Bringing eCall to Citizens COM (2005)431 Final 14.9.2005 provides for the fitment of “eCall” from 2010 onwards. This technology will call the emergency services in case of an accident, using 112 to send accident data, including the car's location. Many Member States need to upgrade their infrastructure to enable the emergency services to receive and process the Call data.
Bringing eCall back on track - Action Plan COM (2006) 723 final
New Commission strategy for long term viability of European car industry 7.2.07.
Safe and efficient in-vehicle information and communication systems: Update of the European Statement of Principles on human machine interface, Commission Recommendation of 22 December 2006. The updated European Statement of Principles (version 2006) summarises the essential safe design and use aspects to be considered for the human machine interface (HMI) for in-vehicle information and communication systems. Member States should perform a continuous evaluation and monitoring of the impact of the European Statement of Principles of 2006 and report to the Commission about the dissemination activities carried out as well as the results of the application of the 2006 Principles within a period of 18 months from their publication.
The eSafety Initiative was launched in 2002 as a joint initiative of the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders. It aims at accelerating the development, deployment and use of Intelligent Integrated Safety Systems that use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in intelligent solutions, in order to increase road safety and reduce the number of crashes on Europe's roads.
The eSafety Forum provides a platform for consensus among stakeholders (currently over 150 members), High-Level Meetings with Industry and Member States defining strategy and Working Groups: Solution-oriented, reporting to the Forum.
An eSafety effects database lists a variety of studies which have attempted to identify the effects of new technologies.
Current EC funded research projects related to eSafety include Prevent, eIMPACT, TRACE, AIDE.
While the European Commission has been active in the eSafety field since the late 1990s, recommendations of EU road safety experts (Rumar ed, 1999) continue to be valid and similar recommendations have been expressed in recent times:
It is clear from the current situation that the European Union needs to establish a long-term strategy on ITS with a view to road safety. It also needs to develop its role in giving advice to industry with regard to design, development, implementation and evaluation of new products. It is important to ensure that the potential benefits to the community are maximised and that any disadvantages are minimised. The key issue is how such a process should be developed and designed .
Summary of recommendations for EU actions 
- It is clear from the current situation that the European Union needs to establish a long-term strategy on ITS with a view to road safety. It also needs to develop its role in giving advice to industry with regard to design, development, implementation and evaluation of new products. It is important to ensure that the potential benefits to the community are maximised and that any disadvantages are minimised. The key issue is how such a process should be developed and designed.
- Priority should be given to the development of ITS that address identified road safety problems, rather than to promoting technologies for their own sake. Other general aims than safety are, of course, legitimate as long as safety is not hampered.
- The EU should encourage the early European-wide implementation of those ITS which have proven safety benefits.
- The EU should give priority in long-term development to systems that have a significant potential to improve safety.
- The EU should ensure that ITS introduced on the market is monitored and evaluated from a safety point of view.
- The European Statement of Principles on Human Machine Interface for In-Vehicle Information and Communication Systems, as presented by the European Commission in 1998, represents an initial, non-mandatory approach to design and installation. The Statement of Principles needs to be made more specific and should define a procedure that should be followed to ensure compliance with these principles; a certification process through which products can be shown to have complied with these principles; an EU certification process for ITS functions which are very critical from a safety point of view. Steps to move beyond the current knowledge embodied in the Statement of Principles are recommended below.
- A mandatory certification procedure to approve ITS applications in terms of system safety should be developed at a European level (reliability issues and the availability of adequate fallback procedures need to be addressed, as a system failure might put the road user in a very dangerous situation). The existing procedures for ensuring system safety should also be adopted at the international standards level, through ISO.
- Specifically, the need for standardisation and quality assurance of relevant control algorithms and protocols should be addressed.
- Implementing ITS requires special consideration for safety in the transition phases -which may last several decades- during which car fleets, driver abilities, and ITS functions and interfaces will be very varied. The EU should establish a monitoring system to evaluate the design, development and implementation of ITS and their short, medium, and long-term impacts on traffic safety, that is, the overall safety effect of ITS on the traffic system.