DEKRA presents Road Safety Report 2023 in Brussels
Research and innovation play a crucial role in making roads safer
“Research and innovation play a crucial role in supporting ‘Vision Zero’ and drastically reducing the number of accidents and fatalities on our roads,” Markus Schulte, Head of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Education, said at the presentation of the DEKRA Road Safety Report 2023 in Brussels. “Our Horizon Europe program is the largest research and innovation funding program of its kind in the world. Among other things, this program contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This also includes a smarter and safer transport system”, continued Schulte. By pointing out that the development of automated driving in particular must focus on safety, he made a link to the DEKRA Road Safety Report. It is the 16th of its kind since 2008 and is entitled “Technology and People” and deals with the tension between greater safety and new risks arising from the increasing automation and digitalization of mobility.
- Automation and digitalization can benefit road safety
- At the same time, new risks may arise that need to be countered
- Currently available assistance systems leave responsibility with the driver
Regardless of which assistance systems are installed in a vehicle today, the responsibility remains with the driver. Drivers must therefore pay full attention to the road at all times and intervene or override the systems if necessary. “However, systems that function very well and reliably, particularly in the areas of distance control and lane keeping, tempt many road users to turn their attention to tasks other than driving”, Jann Fehlauer pointed out. Several serious accidents have already been the result of such misjudgments regarding system design. Such systems could also become critical if the driver develops health problems and this is not recognized. As the degree of automation continues to increase, everyday driving experience also decreases. “However, it is indispensable in critical driving situations in which an automated system hands back over to the driver”, says Fehlauer. There is currently no satisfactory solution to this challenge.
According to Kristian Schmidt, EU Road Safety Coordinator, automated driving systems can be a game changer. “Connected and automated driving has great potential to make mobility safer and more accessible”, writes Schmidt in the DEKRA Road Safety Report. In his view, however, there are also new challenges – for example regarding cyber security and the safe operation of highly automated vehicles in mixed traffic. “We need to ensure that automated vehicles are safe before we let them drive on Europe's roads. If type approval fails here, the entire technology could be discredited”, Schmidt writes.