Road Safety – Should We Be Afraid of Intelligent Transport Systems? –

Should we be afraid of intelligent transport systems ?

Road Safety - Should We Be Afraid of Intelligent Transport Systems? -

After the United States and Canada, Intelligent Transport Systems are making their progress in Europe. As the EU prepares its Road Safety Plan 2002-2010, Moto-Net takes stock of the consequences of these technological advances…

As the European Union prepares its "Third road safety action plan 2002-2010", FEMA (main motorcyclist lobby in Brussels) is sounding the alarm again about Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS):"Under no circumstances can ITS take control of the vehicle out of the hands of its driver.".

It is based in particular on the position of the German government, which considers that "this practice goes against the basic principles of the 1968 Vienna Convention on International Road Regulation". At the International Motorcyclists Conference, organized by the FIM and the American Motorcyclists Association in April 2001 in Ohio (USA), the STIs were presented as"an assistance system that can help the driver / pilot and improve safety aspects (better identification of a motorcycle by other road users, night vision, collision warning and avoidance, etc.)".

But the dangers of a Big Brother in our engine have also been stated: "Interventions on vehicle control (speed, direction, etc.) are not only contrary to the Vienna Convention, but could also greatly increase the risks for motorcyclists, thus going in the opposite direction of better safety".

So after the sticker, the safety rails and the parking on the sidewalks – without forgetting Gayssot for all of his work -, will STIs become the new bête noire of bikers ?

Caution is required, as it is true that technology is never dangerous in itself and that only the use which is made of it can present risks … Thus this video mirror for motorbikes developed by Andrew Pilling, British engineering student, is completely in the movement of STI and seems rather to be a success for owners of sports, often forced to watch their elbows more than traffic in the retro…

On the other hand, some projects can be cold in the back, even and especially if they are presented in their most favorable light, as Richard Bishop, consultant and ardent promoter of ITS, did at the International Motorcyclists Conference..

In Sweden, 7000 Volvos are already equipped with "integrated retarders", which automatically reduce the speed of a vehicle entering a built-up area. Also in the Netherlands and Great Britain, similar "forced speed control" tests have been tried "conclusive".

As for the "automatic obstacle recognition" projects, they alert the driver when he approaches an obstacle and invite him to change his path. But Bishop may specify, wanting to be reassuring, that "bikers have not been forgotten in the list of obstacles to report", one cannot help shuddering at the idea of ​​being considered as one more obstacle by a more or less reliable sensor, on which the completely disresponsible motorist will rely more and more…

Valeo and Iteris in particular have just concluded a strategic partnership to develop the system "AutoView", which" reads "the markings on the ground and" warns "the driver as soon as he deviates from the set trajectory. It is already planned that later versions ofAutoView will detect climate changes, signs or changes in traffic, and will be able to "lighten the burden on the driver by automating the lighting or braking functions

In the name of road safety, other projects even play with the idea of ​​creating "lanes reserved for intelligent vehicles". Accessible only to vehicles covered with sensors and detectors of all kinds, one would observe with certain delight the motorists proud of their latest 4×4 Turbo D Familial Deluxe V8 Girl Trap being treated like good big fragile packages that should be at all costs to get there safely … Uh, and the train, no ?

Finally, to know what sauce the last space of individual empowerment is going to be eaten up, keep an eye out for the 8th International Congress on ITS, to be held in Sydney (Australia) from September 30 to October 4, 2001…


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