Talking cars to save lives on EU roads
06.08.08 @ 09:25
BRUSSELS - With traffic jams an almost daily feature of most commuters' lives, Brussels on Tuesday (5 August) announced plans to increase Europe's radio spectrum for technology that allows cars to communicate upcoming road and traffic problems.
EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said the decision was a "decisive step" towards reducing accidents on Europe's roads with statistics for 2006 showing that over 42,000 people died and more than 1.6 million were injured in road accidents in the European Union.
She noted that 24 percent of driving time in Europe is spent in traffic jams - something that is expected to cost the economy €80 billion by 2010.
"So clearly saving time through smart vehicles communications systems means saving money," said the commissioner in a statement.
Similar decisions on smart communication between cars have also been taken in the US and Japan. The system envisages scenarios such a vehicles warning other cars about a slippery road ahead or traffic control centres sending messages about upcoming tailbacks and suggesting alternative routes.
Now that the European Commission has made the extra bandwidth available, car manufacturers and telecoms industries can work on putting it in vechicles.
The technology is expected to be available in the next couple of years. The system will use 30Mhz of spectrum in the 5.9GHz band - something that will be allocated by national authorities to road safety outfits over the coming six months.