The European eSafety Challenge: road safety controlled by computers
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, has a laudable concern over the amount of road deaths and accidents in the world at large and Europe in particular. It goes back to her time in national politics as a transport minister in the Netherlands. Now, as a senior European politician, she writes:
The UN estimates that more than a million people are killed on the world’s roads each year, 35,000 in Europe. The global figure could almost double by 2020, if no action is taken. Heading off this increase and fighting road deaths is what the UN’s “Decade of Action for Road Safety” is all about.
So I was very pleased that the European Parliament invited me to back the UN campaign using “my” project “eSafety Challenge“.
Vehicles, like everything else in our lives, are beginning to be controlled by computers. Vorsprung durch technik, as they say. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. And the eSafety Challenge is all about ‘promoting advanced vehicle safety technology’ through better use of computer technology. We’ll come back to that in a moment. But first let’s look at computer-riven vehicles from an IT security point of view.
My first concern is that the more we rely on technology-based safety rather than driver safety, the more we will get a false sense of security. Just like infosec.
My second concern is that technology does malfunction – and that alone could lead to disaster. Just like infosec.
And the third concern. If a vehicle is controlled by a computer, sooner or later it will be controlled by a hacker. Just like infosec. And that’s scary.
But back to the eSafety Challenge. “During the first year event, the eSafety Challenge has taken the opportunity to recognize the merits of several actors for their important efforts in the deployment of eSafety technologies…” So what are these eSafety technologies and the prizes given for them?
Two of the three include:
- Renault Spain for ‘Excellence in Marketing’
- Auto de Graef for ‘Excellence in Car Sales’
Maybe I don’t need to worry about the eSafety Campaign just yet.