The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates (“The Economic Impact of Motor Crashes 2000” NHTSA, DOT HS-809-446, May 2002.)
annual societal cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.
reported crashes involving 11.3 million vehicles
crashes per year resulting in property damage
crashes resulting in injuries
crashes resulting in 42,643 fatalities.
Over the last four decades, the numbers of injuries and fatalities per traveled mile have decreased significantly. However, over the last two decades these numbers have leveled off, indicating that new approaches will be needed in order to achieve additional reductions. Thus automotive suppliers have begun developing active safety products, whose goal is to prevent or mitigate crashes, as opposed to passive safety products, e.g. seat belts and air bags that provide protection only in a crash. An active safety system senses aspects of the vehicle, driver, traffic and/or roadway to identify and assess impending crash events, then attempts to avoid the crash either by warning the driver or by taking appropriate control actions such as braking. Active safety products in development include adaptive cruise control, collision warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping systems.
Impressive progress has been made in active safety product development, but no common standards for human-machine interfaces exist. In other words, one manufacturer might use a tone to warn of a potential hazard, while another might flash an icon on the windshield. Also, neither standard test scenarios nor test methods exist to compare effectiveness of different systems. Without repeatable standardized testing, it is difficult to determine which systems address the largest number of crashes or the largest number of injury- or fatality-crashes. Until research resolves these issues, it is impossible to establish the cost-effectiveness of active-safety devices. Lack of demonstrated cost-effectiveness and lack of standardization have resulted in only limited consumer interest in active safety systems. Thus, it is crucial to automotive suppliers to address these issues. However, addressing them is too costly in terms of resources and manpower for any individual company. In addition, cross-industry agreement is needed to implement test protocols and performance standards. The competitive nature of product development does not naturally lend itself to cooperatively developing standards. This creates a critical need for unbiased leadership.
TASI will provide a collaborative environment, facilitating interaction among academic researchers, automotive suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, and government regulatory agencies addressing vehicular active safety issues. Through the partners’ combined efforts, TASI activities will help bridge the gap between innovation, market launch, and evaluation of commercial products. This will speed the market introduction of active safety systems, thereby reducing crash-related injuries, loss of life, and property damage, while promoting innovative companies that boost Indiana’s economy.