New Conference Aims to Show How to Save Drivers Lives and Push Up Profits in the Vehicle Safety Industry

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Vehicle safety is evolving - the Vehicle Safety Summit London takes a look at the key market changes and discusses the opportunities this presents for the automotive 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. For example - according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 4 through 14.

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. These systems - known as 'passive' technologies - have undoubtedly saved countless lives but with the number of vehicles on the road expected to triple in the next 20 years it is clear that new, innovative solutions are needed to combat one of the world's biggest causes of unnatural deaths.

So where will increased safety in tomorrows cars come from? The answer is advanced digital technologies - 'active' systems - that don't just mitigate crashes, they prevent them from ever happening at all. This is where telematics comes in. A number of these new technologies will involve wireless communications and going forward, telematics will play a significant part in saving more lives.

These new technologies give the automotive industry the potential to maybe eventually, stop all accidents for good.

Sounds like a pipe dream? When you mention cars that can't crash people get visions of Minority Report or other futuristic sci-fi stories, and that's precisely one of the problems facing the industry that the vehicle safety summit is designed to address - user acceptance.

However, cars that can't crash are still a long way off - in the mean time there are a number of features that are just out in the last few years or are close to market now that will help car makers sell more vehicles, a few of these are:

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Lane Departure Warnings
  • Automatic Collision Notification
  • Blind spot warning
  • Active steering
  • Collision warning
  • Braking assistance
  • Vision technologies - night, rearview and adaptive lighting
  • Digital maps acting as safety sensors

It is well established that safety already is a massive factor that car buyers take into consideration when choosing their next vehicle. This is obvious, 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 active automotive safety systems in the next few years and beyond, right up until those never-crash cars hit the streets (and not each other).

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

In 2007 Telematics Update are 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.

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