Things would be much safer if we all just walked. Serious accidents don’t usually result from people moving no faster than their feet can carry them. At speeds of more than 30 km/h, the risk of injury increases dramatically – at least when we don’t have a seat belt or an airbag. But people like to drive cars. A lot. In the course of a lifetime, a car driver in an industrialized nation spends an average of 23,000 hours, or around 2.5 years, behind the wheel. As the Continental Mobility Study 2016 confirmed, driving a car is more than a means to an end. Driving is emotion. Around the globe, people love their cars. And the growing number of vehicles worldwide is proof of their passion. The resultant growing volumes of road traffic present a major societal challenge – for lawmakers, traffic planners, and the automobile industry.
Every six seconds, somewhere in the world someone is killed or injured in a road accident
While the number of people who die in road accidents is steadily decreasing in industrialized nations, the numbers in emerging and developing countries remain consistently high. In Europe, for instance, the number of road traffic fatalities sunk after 25,700 in 2014 further to a new record low of 25,300 in 2017. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2015 some 1.25 million people died in road traffic accidents worldwide. And the number of seriously injured is estimated at between 20 and 50 million. Fifty percent of road traffic fatalities worldwide are “vulnerable” road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Road accidents are already the number one cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds. Most fatalities occur in Africa, especially in Lybia, and Thailand. But the target is to reduce the global number of deaths from road traffic by 50 percent by 2020. Road accidents are already the number one cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds. Half of all fatalities occur in Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Auto industry, traffic experts, and governments – the Vision Zero alliance
Although a lot has been accomplished in some parts of the world, improving road safety around the globe is still an essential goal. The name is the same worldwide: Vision Zero. The northern European nation of Sweden paved the way. The term, which comes from the field of occupational health and safety, was first applied to road safety there in the late 1990s. Vision Zero is based on the understanding that people make mistakes – human error is responsible for the majority of road accidents. So roads and vehicles have to be designed to compensate for these mistakes. An alliance of societal, economic, and political actors has now been working for almost 20 years to make Vision Zero the reality.
Automated driving: Continental shoulders responsibility
Vision Zero is firmly anchored in the Continental corporate strategy. Safe driving, accident prevention, and protection of drivers and passengers in collisions are all focal points in vehicle development. Every day, engineers are working to bring Vision Zero one step closer to fruition. In addition, Continental supports numerous safety initiatives – including the Global NCAP "Stop the Crash" campaign. “We are aiming for zero road traffic fatalities. It is no longer a utopian vision. This goal is within our reach – because there will be cars which prevent crashes,” says Continental Chairman Dr. Elmar Degenhart.
When people make mistakes – intelligent technology saves lives
Lane departure warning and emergency braking systems, eHorizon, and networked safety functions – advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like these are key technologies which significantly improve road safety. In Germany, the vehicle experts at technical inspectorate Dekra are calling for increased market adoption of ADAS – a demand that aligns well with the Continental corporate strategy.
SensePlanAct – a further step towards accident-free driving
In May 2015, Chassis & Safety launched "SensePlanAct" , its global Vision Zero communications campaign. Sense, process, and then act on information – that is how the human brain works, and it is reflected in the products. The “eye” symbolizes products which are responsible for perceiving (Sense) what is happening on the road, such as pedestrian protection systems, wheel speed sensors, cameras, and radar sensors. The “brain” stands for the analysis of possible actions (Plan) performed by the control units. And “foot and pedal” stand for all products that perform a specific task (Act) in controlling the vehicle, such as fixed caliper brakes or electrohydraulic brakes. SensePlanAct aims to take this three-step process into account in the design and development of products. After all, networking different components at an early stage to form integrated systems is the foundation upon which automated driving is built – making it a key requirement for achieving Vision Zero.
Safety should not be the privilege of the wealthy – Vision Zero for everyone
One basic tenet of Vision Zero is that safety is not the privilege of the few. After all, the life of a person in Latin America is no less valuable than the life of a person in Europe, Japan, or the USA. Safety technologies are already available today for almost every car. And accident-preventing functions are becoming more widespread thanks to tougher laws and the stricter safety criteria required to receive a five-star rating from leading vehicle performance assessment organizations. For example, starting in 2016 it will only be possible to achieve the top score under the Euro NCAP rules if the vehicle has emergency brake assistance to protect pedestrians. Continental is making an active contribution to “safety for everyone” with features such as scalable safety functions.
A broad-based alliance for Vision Zero
- The "Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020" was proclaimed by the United Nations. The goal is to save five million lives by 2020, above all through better accident prevention in low-income countries where 90 percent of all road accidents occur.
- The aim of the European Road Safety Charter launched in 2004 is to raise awareness of the topic of road safety and encourage the member states to commit to Vision Zero. The concrete target is to halve the number of road traffic fatalities by 2020. Continental became a signatory to the Charter in 2007.
- Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) was founded in London (England) in 2011. This independent organization is focused on motor vehicle safety, particularly in the rapidly motorizing countries in Asia and Latin America. In 2015, Continental became a partner to the Global NCAP campaign "Stop the Crash". Global NCAP is the umbrella organization for the national NCAP associations. They lay down the standards for the prestigious NCAP 5-star award.
- UR:BAN: 31 partners from the automobile and supplier industries, including Continental, and from the electronics, communications, and software sectors, as well as universities, research institutes, and cities have joined together in the cooperative project UR:BAN to develop advanced driver assistance and traffic management systems for urban areas.
- The German Road Safety Council (DVR) was founded in 1969. Since 2007 the experts here have based their efforts on Vision Zero. Among other things, Continental is a partner in the DVR Tire Quality initiative.
Products from Continental: assistance systems save lives
Electronic Stability Control/ESC: https://www.continental-automotive.com/en-gl/Passenger-Cars/Chassis-Safety/Brakes/Electronic-Brakes/MK-100/ESC-High-Plus
Electro-hydraulic brake system MK C1: https://www.continental-automotive.com/en-gl/Passenger-Cars/Chassis-Safety/Brakes/Electronic-Brakes/MK-C1/MK-C1