Brussels, 24 Apr 2003
The first plenary meeting of the e-safety forum, which met in Brussels on 22 April, has led to agreement among key European stakeholders on how to implement a range of new road safety technologies.
The meeting brought together 150 representatives of government and industry, including Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, and Louis Schweitzer, Chairman and CEO of Renault.
Following recommendations set out by the relevant preparatory working groups, the e-safety forum agreed on guidelines for the implementation of four initiatives: e-call, an in-vehicle emergency call system; accident causation data; better human-machine interaction; and a stimulating business rationale.
'We now need to focus on the deployment of the e-safety technologies, systems and solutions - in other words, get e-safety into cars and on the road for the benefit of 375 million European road users,' said Mr Liikanen, adding: 'I am confident that the forum's recommendations will lead to concrete actions.'
In his welcoming address to participants, the Commissioner described e-call as an example of an application with great public demand, and one that could only be realised through coordinated public and private intervention. Accident causation data, he said, is a crucial element for both industrial and political decision making, and described it as a prerequisite for supporting research and development, financial incentives and standardisation.
Mr Liikanen also announced that the Commission intends to produce two communications, one on the third road safety action plan and the second on information and communication technologies (ICT) for intelligent vehicles, to be published before June 2003.
The communication on ICT for intelligent vehicles will outline the specific actions that the Commission will undertake in order to implement e-safety measures, said Mr Liikanen. 'Clear objectives for deliverables, products, public investments and legal measures are essential, as without these there will not be a commitment.'
Responding, Mr Schweitzer said: 'The European automobile industry welcomes and fully supports this important initiative. We appreciate the leadership of the European Commission [and] our industry will continue its commitment to the work of the forum and to improvements of road safety in general.'