The eSafety Challenge is an annual event that promotes and highlights the life-saving potential of advanced vehicle safety technologies. An important obstacle for deployment of eSafety systems is the lack of awareness among both policymakers and end users, which is affecting policy support, user expectations and readiness for change.
The key eSafety applications promoted by the eSafety Challenge are:
• Electronic Stability Control
• Blind Spot Monitoring
• Lane Support Systems
• Speed Alert
• Warning and Emergency Braking Systems
• Adaptive Headlights
Each of the promoted safety systems has the potential to save lives by addressing the root cause of some of the most common accidents. Estimates for Electronic Stability Control (ESC) alone show that in Europe it could save 4,000 lives and prevent more than 100,000 injuries if fitted to all cars.
The first eSafety Challenge took place on 8/9 September 2009 in Rome/Italy with more than 300 high-level delegates and journalists participating. The event was opened with a series of speeches by notable guests, including FIA President Jean Todt, UK Minister for Transport Paul Clark MP, seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, and Make Roads Safe global ambassador Michelle Yeoh.
During demonstration rides, some of the world's best drivers, including Formula One stars Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica, Timo Glock, Giancarlo Fisichella, eight-time 24 Hour Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, and German Touring Car series star Susie Stoddart, illustrated the benefits of eSafety technologies in a variety of cars, ranging from small class vehicles to trucks. At the end of the demonstrations delegates were able to try the systems themselves.
The event saw also a prize giving ceremony for excellence in marketing, driver training and car sales to recognize the merits of several actors for their important efforts in the deployment of eSafety technologies. Two panel debates on eSafety deployment and consumers information, and a study looking into the user’s knowledge and attitudes towards eSafety technologies and their purchasing habits, completed the event.
The second eSafety Challenge took place on 13 July 2010 at the UK’s Millbrook vehicle testing centre and had a special focus on fleets. It gathered more than 300 delegates and representatives of the press.
An eSafety exhibition with close to 15 companies and organisations showcasing the latest eSafety technologies and safety related projects represented a central element of this year's event. The exhibition included vehicle safety functions and components for passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles as well as information about projects such as "Make Roads Safe" and "Driving for Better Business".
A point of attraction were the technology demonstrations opened by 24 Hour Le Man champion Tom Kristensen with an illustation of Warning and Emergency Braking. Those present had the chance to see Electronic Stability Control, ABS for motorcycle and Volvo City Safety in action. In the hands-on driving session delegates were then able to experience themselves the following technologies: Electronic Stability Control (both for passenger cars and van), Warning and Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Support Systems, Speed Alert.
The event saw also a panel debate on the deployment of eSafety systems in relations to car fleets, and the launch of two important studies, one commissioned by eSafetyAware in connection to fleets and one by insurance company Allianz concerning the benefits of Automatic Emergency Braking. Excellence Prizes were handed out on Marketing & Sales, Driver Training, and Safety Fleet Management.
The eSafety Challenge project has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2011) under grant agreement n° 249021. Other partners in the project include FIA Foundation, eSafetyAware, FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers), H3B and IMK (Institut für angewandte Marketing- und Kommunikationsforschung GmbH).
The annual eSafety Challenge events are also funded by the FIA Foundation and eSafetyAware.