Every 24 seconds, a human life is lost in traffic. This means that in the two minutes it takes you to read this blog post, an average of four people may have suffered fatal car accidents that could have been avoided. These grim statistics have caused legislators all over the world to take action to improve safety, and one of the more progressive initiatives comes from the European Union (EU).
To reduce the number of road fatalities, the European Union has adopted a range of measurements referred to as the General Safety Regulation (GSR). As a result, all 18 million cars on European roads will be required to use Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) technology to effectively detect driver distraction and issue warnings before an accident occurs. This, along with other road safety measures, is expected to save 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries in the next 15 years. To learn more about the GSR, make sure to read the previous blog in this series.
In this blog, we will instead dive deeper into Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW) systems – the safety technologies that will soon become mandatory in all European vehicles – and how this part of the regulation will eventually affect the entire automotive industry – all over the world.
In short, an Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW) system helps a driver pay attention to the traffic situation and warns the driver when he or she is distracted. More specifically, the ADDW systems mandated by the GSR need to issue a warning at the latest when the driver has been visually distracted from the road for more than 3.5 seconds when driving in 50 kph or faster, or more than 6 seconds in 20 kph to 50 kph.
To do this, we use camera-based Driver Monitoring System (DMS) technology to analyze the driver’s eye and face movements and determine their attention levels. Data is collected using sensors, most commonly an infrared camera, and is then analyzed by algorithms. More advanced systems can even use several cameras to avoid occlusion, and AI-based algorithms for more effective distraction detection.
The GSR states that all new type registered motor vehicles with four or more wheels, including personal cars, trucks, and buses, should be equipped with ADDW systems from July 7, 2024. By July 7, 2026, the regulations will apply to all new registered vehicles within these categories. This means that all new vehicle models put on the European market will need to be equipped with ADDW by mid-2024, until ADDW becomes mandatory for all new vehicles two years later.
Of course, developing and manufacturing new vehicle models is an elaborate process that takes years. As a rule of thumb, decisions made by car manufacturers today won’t show in the vehicles they produce until about three years later. So, in order to have their new models viable for type approval on the EU market by 2024, vehicle manufacturers had to initiate the process of putting sensors and DMS software in their cars back in 2021. This has led to a fast increase in the number of DMS system procurements settled in the last few years. And with just three years left to go until 2026, the market for DMS is bound to skyrocket in the near future.
While the growth in the DMS market is due to several corresponding factors, the GSR will most likely be the main driver in the next couple of years. But it’s impossible to talk about the use of DMS technology in Europe without mentioning Euro NCAP. Just like the GSR, Euro NCAP’s new car assessment protocol has caused DMS to go from a nice-to-have to an absolute necessity for car manufacturers. So, what separates the GSR from Euro NCAP’s requirements? In the next blog, we break down the most important differences between these two influential road safety initiatives.
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