A new page opens on the front of road safety in Europe. As of today, all newly approved cars must be equipped with a range of electronic devices and driving assistance specifically aimed at reducing accidents. This news, established in 2019, at present, relates only to the new models, that is to say, to simplify those presented from today by the car manufacturers. The models that have already been approved – that is, those that are currently in the official price lists – are legally exempt from this obligation until July 6, 2024. From that date, in fact, all models that are for sale in the dealerships , therefore both the newly approved models and those of previous homologation, must have the new safety equipment. Moreover, it must be said that many models currently for sale, especially those from premium brands or of medium-high and higher segments, are already equipped with some of these features.
Outbreak of Adas. What exactly is it about? Much has been said in recent months about black box built into the cars, the so-called Event data recorder, or, as it is technically defined, EDR, Event data recorder. But the list of devices mentioned in Regulation 2019/2144 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019, more simply known as Vehicle Safety Regulation, is quite long: it goes from the intelligent speed adapter, ie. ISA (Intelligent Speed Assistant), to warn of inattention and fatigue in the driver, from signaling the emergency stop to the disposition of the so-called alcolock, the device that registers the driver’s alcohol level. In addition, advanced systems are provided that are able to detect the presence of pedestrians and cyclists who are near the front of the vehicle or on the side of the pavement, but only for heavy vehicles, both for transporting things and for transport. Of people. In this case, however, the adoption dates are postponed later. Let’s look in detail.
The built-in black box. The included black box is a device similar to those currently installed in aftermarket mode, ie. after the car owner’s free decision of the insurance companies. In practice, these devices are capable of recording and storing a series of data in a time interval between moments immediately before and immediately after an accident. The data to be recorded by the system are the speed, braking, position and inclination of the vehicle in relation to the road, as well as the condition and frequency of activation of all the active safety and accident prevention systems present on the vehicle. It is clear that this device can not be disabled by the user, and the recorded data “is”, the texts read, “protected from tampering and misuse.” accident. In short, the contents of the black box can not be linked to either the car or the vehicle, but in the event of an accident, the police forces will be able to use it to reconstruct its dynamics and thus assign responsibility.
The speed adapter. The other novelty that gives rise to much discussion is ISA, intelligent speed adjustment, “a system” as the regulation defines it, “helping the driver to maintain the most appropriate speed for the road environment by giving an appropriate signal”. Also on this device, the standard dwells in length and specifies that it must meet a number of “minimum requirements”. In particular, “it must be possible to inform the driver by means of the accelerator or by any other specific, sufficient and effective signal that the applicable speed limit has been exceeded”; “It must be possible to switch off the system”, but in this case “the speed limit information can still be given to the driver”. In any case, “Intelligent Cruise Control is in normal operation every time the vehicle’s main switch is activated”, ie. it is reactivated automatically after each engine stop. Again: “The signal (given to the driver, ed) is based on speed limit information obtained by observing road signs and by signals from the road infrastructure or digital map data, or both, available on board the vehicle; the devices “Do not affect the driver’s ability to exceed the vehicle speed suggested by the system”; “Its performance targets must be set in a way that avoids or minimizes the error rate in accordance with actual driving conditions”.
It will be disabled, but it will restart automatically. Let us then translate how all this is put into practice. Exceeding the speed limit must be signaled to the driver: this can be done in different ways (visually, eg by projecting the signal on the head-up display, as is already the case in many cars, or by a mechanical signal on the pedal or acoustics) , but the driver is free to ignore this warning and even turn off the system. Which, however, is automatically reactivated each time the car is started. This option is indispensable for various reasons. The car’s detection of the boundary is based on the observation of road signs by means of cameras installed on board or on the basis of the signal to the vehicle by the road infrastructure itself, in case a smart road is traveled, or again from data contained in any digital cartography found on board the vehicle: any reports that may be conflicting (especially in a country like ours …), or that the driver may in any case in certain cases be “forced” to ignore in the name of road safety. On the other hand, the device is called Intelligent speed assistant, not automatic speed limiter. It should be noted, however, that in this respect the Regulation specifies that “the Commission shall evaluate the reliability and efficiency of the new intelligent speed adjustment systems and the accuracy and failure rate of these systems under real driving conditions.”. In short, it is not excluded that the rules for ISA may change in the future, also in relation to the technological development of vehicles and roads or to stricter political indications.
Inattention, distraction and fatigue. With regard to the driver’s inattention and fatigue warning system and the advanced driver’s distraction warning, the Regulation specifies that “they are designed in such a way that they do not constantly record or store data other than those necessary for the purposes. with which was collected or otherwise treated within the closed loop “. An elegant way of saying that the system should not remember, for example, based on face recognition systems, who has been driving despite being tired or has been distracted by the steering wheel on previous trips. The device simply needs to periodically detect any fatigue in the person driving at the specific time. The Regulation also specifies that the data collected “will not be available or made available to third parties at any time and will be deleted immediately after processing. Such systems (inattention, fatigue and distraction, ed) is also designed to avoid duplication and does not send alerts to the driver in a separate, simultaneous or confused way if an action triggers more than one.
Alcohol locking will not be mandatory. The installation of the device that prevents the vehicle from starting in the event that the driver has a blood alcohol level higher than allowed, registered on the basis of a sophisticated sensor system and advanced control software, is so far not mandatory. Manufacturers will, however, have to equip the cars with a standard interface that subsequently, for example, available to the authorities by certain persons or at the request of the car buyer, enables after-sales installation of specific equipment.