Navigation systems could drive up safety in Europe

A report by Frost & Sullivan suggests a boom ahead for map-based driver assistance systems (DAS) in Europe as manufacturers seek to improve vehicle safety.

A report by Frost & Sullivan suggests a boom ahead for map-based driver assistance systems (DAS) in Europe as manufacturers seek to improve vehicle safety.

The analysis, titled “Strategic Analysis of Integration of ADAS with Telematics,” said that map-based data will play a larger role in safety systems by 2015.

“Maps can enhance the environmental sensing capabilities of existing active safety systems,” wrote Frost & Sullivan research analyst P. Aswin Kumar. “Digital map-enabled ADAS systems can reduce traffic jams, improve road safety and, ultimately, lower social costs related to road safety in Europe.”

According to the report, while navigation systems have acted more as a convenience feature for drivers, getting them to a destination, the possibility they can play a vital role in safety is a relatively untapped market. For that to happen, though, the report said map data needs to be more accurate and updated more often.

“[Vehicle manufacturers] must ensure that the systems perform effectively even with incorrect data input from the map sensor,” said Kumar. “The significant liability risks related to systems that use map information may restrain their uptake.”

The report identifies major areas where map-based systems can assist drivers: speed alert, curve warning, fuel economy systems (set for launch in select vehicles by 2013), map-supported adaptive cruise control, advanced frontal lighting and map-supported lane departure warning.

“In a market grappling with the economic downturn, map-based DAS offers the prospect of excellent revenue growth for all stakeholders, including public authorities,” said Kumar. “Luxury [vehicle manufacturers] rightly see these systems as the best possible way to achieve intelligent transportation on European roads. Thus they are prepared to weather any and all initial challenges to focus on these systems.”

Speed alert and curve warning systems will make up the largest segment of the telematics market in Europe by 2015, with 28% of devices sold utilizing speed alerts and 27% curve warning systems, where the device monitors the vehicle and notifies the driver if the vehicle’s speed appears to be too fast to safely navigate upcoming corners. Among the reasons cited by those surveyed for the new technology are enhanced safety performance and the desire for vehicle manufacturers to differentiate their vehicles from the competition.

The report does caution against several factors, including cost, which it said will come down as more products are produced to meet demand, and information overload for drivers.

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