An Answer for Tomorrow's World: Automation
Growth and prosperity – and participation in them – require people and goods to be mobile. We will need innovative solutions for secure mobility and transport to act as the motors driving the future. It is no longer possible simply to “carry on as before.” In view of population growth and urbanization, traffic flows, which are precisely what up to now has been the basis for greater prosperity for more people, would be restricted. Automated driving has the potential to contribute to resolving the challenges accompanying global development trends.
The primary objective is to make road traffic even safer. The challenge lies in accomplishing this while the volume of traffic continues to rise, especially in the “megacities.” Developments in Germany are positive. The number of people injured in road traffic has fallen by 23 percent since 1993, and the number of deaths has actually fallen by 66 percent. This has come about even though the total mileage covered – i.e. the sum of the distances traveled by all vehicles – increased by 23 percent in the same period. The reasons for this are that cars have become safer and safer, and above all the introduction of driver assistance systems. Developments in other Western countries are similar.
The technology in driver assistance systems potentially offers additional significant reductions in the number of accidents and traffic jams. Adaptive cruise control systems, for example, improve the traffic flow and make a major contribution to avoiding accidents.
Automated driving makes traffic not only safer, but also more efficient and comfortable. Optimized traffic flow and less congestion bring about a decisive reduction in CO2 emissions. During rush hour in particular, drivers of automated passenger cars and commercial vehicles gain a newly won freedom and enjoy a better quality of driving. Furthermore, they can leave parking to their vehicles. In short, automated driving functions support drivers and offer them greatly improved driving comfort and flexibility.
Yet despite all this progress in automation, drivers remain in control. Just as today they can already decide whether they would like to have an assistance system in their vehicle, they can also decide while driving whether they want to use an assistance system that has been installed, such as adaptive cruise control.