World News: New event aims to save drivers’ lives and push up profits in the vehicle safety industry

World News: New event aims to save drivers’ lives and push up profits in the vehicle safety industry

Since the introduction of air bags in the early 1950s, driver and passenger safety in cars and trucks has gone from strength to strength – but road accidents are still one of the biggest killers on the planet.

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unnatural deaths in children between the ages of four and fourteen.

With statistics like these in mind, it is clear there can be no such thing as too much vehicle safety.

The problem is that air bags, restraints and other mechanical safety features no longer have much room for improvement. The majority of in-car safety features today focus on mitigating injuries and damage after an event has taken place. While these passive technologies have undoubtedly saved countless lives, with the number of vehicles on the road expected to triple in the next twenty years, it is clear that new, innovative solutions are needed.

One solution is advanced digital technologies – ‘active’ systems – that don’t just mitigate crashes, they prevent them from ever happening at all. A number of these new technologies involve wireless communications and, going forward, telematics will play a significant part in giving the automotive industry the potential to maybe, eventually, stop all accidents for good.

The mention of “uncrashable cars” inspires visions of Minority Report or other futuristic sci-fi stories, and this is one of the problems facing the industry that the vehicle safety summit is designed to address – user acceptance.

It is well established that safety already is a massive factor that car buyers take into consideration when choosing their next vehicle. For instance, how many people would buy a new car today if it didn’t have airbags as standard?

Once new safety tech is released into the market all drivers will want it in their cars. As manufacturing costs decrease and price points are hit, practically every new car in the world will contain an array of sensors, electronics, cameras, software and more.

The upshot of all this is that there will be more electronics in more cars, and more profits for all the players involved in automotive safety systems in the next few years and beyond, right up until those “uncrashable cars” hit the streets (and not each other).

The growth opportunities are immense. According to some industry predictions, by 2010 safety systems could make €23 billion in Europe alone.

In 2007, Telematics Update is running a series of events on automotive safety, starting with the Vehicle Safety Summit Europe on May 14 and 15 in London, UK. At these events, automotive industry leaders will meet to discuss the latest technology and what needs to be done to get these advanced systems into the marketplace.

Visit www.telematicsupdate.com/safetyEU2007/index.shtml or contact events director Ven Pedro at ven@telematicsupdate.com or phone +44 207 375 7163


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