In June 2012, the results of the first large-scale European Field Operational Test on active safety systems – euroFOT – will be unveiled. With the aim of showing the public the positive impact active safety systems can bring when it comes to safety, traffic and fuel efficiency. Several of the 28 euroFOT project partners are currently analysing hundreds of terabytes of data collected on European roads over the course of 12 months. Preliminary results already look positive, especially when it comes to user acceptance and traffic safety.
Although project partners faced difficulties when first recruiting drivers and vehicles, they managed to reach the 1000 vehicle target successfully – with a total number of 1200 drivers. From February 2010 to February 2011, cars and trucks equipped with active safety systems and data loggers travelled a total of 18 million kilometres throughout Europe, gathering huge amounts of data.
The preparation (installation, data acquisition systems, extra sensors, etc. in vehicles) and data collection phases being over, experts were able to focus on processing the data. Data quality checks, project monitoring and data analysis: For the first time 33 researchers belonging to 15 different institutions and organisations across Europe have joined forces to assess the impact and hypotheses tested in this unique FOT in Europe.
With the help of software tools that were specifically produced during the project – in order to have a tool chain that not only provides specific modules for euroFOT, but also a framework that can be re-used in future FOTs –, experts are currently assessing the impact of active safety systems on traffic safety and efficiency as well as on the environment. Driver behaviour and acceptance are two important parameters experts also have to take into account. Therefore, user answers to interviews and questionnaires also need to be analysed and translated into results.
The amount of data gathered within the Field Operational Test is so important – and there is so much one can learn from the project – that discussions are already ongoing on a follow-up project. But for now, and before euroFOT comes to a close, researchers have a gargantuan task at hand: They need to get the most information they can from the terabytes of data at their disposal by June 2012, when the results of this unprecedented large-scale Field Operational Test on active safety systems will be unveiled to Europe, its citizens, experts and authorities.