EU proposes new technologies for cleaner, safer cars

The European Commission is planning a raft of new technologies to make cars safer and greener.

The European Commission is planning a raft of new technologies to make cars safer and greener.

It will start talks later this year with the European and Asian automotive industry associations to discuss its proposals.

They are looking for agreement to installing eCall in all new vehicles from 2010, which will bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in crashes by employing a hardware black box installed in the car. The box will wirelessly send airbag deployment and impact sensor information, as well as GPS coordinates to local emergency agencies.

The commission hopes to negotiate on Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which is a term for systems designed to improve a vehicle's handling, particularly at the limits where the driver might lose control.

It will also hold a consultation this year on whether fitting braking assistance and crash avoidance systems should be obligatory for all cars. It says sensors will give drivers half a second more warning ahead of a crash and could reduce rear-end collisions by 60%.

In addition, the commission is working to quantify the effect ICT could have in reducing carbon emissions from road transport, and looking at installing the most effective low-CO2 technologies.

Finally, it is continuing to fund research into smart communications for safer and more efficient transport.

Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for the information society and media, said, "Technology can save lives, improve road transport and protect the environment.

"For example, making sure radio frequencies are available for cooperative driving systems that will cut accidents, reduce congestion and lower CO2 emissions."

Jacques Barrot, commissioner for transport, said, "The commission is pushing to ensure that cutting edge technology finds its way into our cars as soon as possible."

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