Continental: United Nations Group Action on Electronic Stability Control Helps Advance Auto Safety Worldwide

Jul 7, 2008

Numerous studies demonstrated the live saving capabilities of ESC – In addition to ESC Continental is taking crash avoidance to the next level with a portfolio of products.

Dr. Ralf Cramer, President of Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division Frankfurt am Main, Germany, / Auburn Hills, Mich., USA. The international automotive supplier Continental today applauded the United Nations auto safety working group and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration for adopting last week Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as a Global Technical Regulation (GTR) for all new light passenger vehicles. The proposed Global Technical Requirement follows the requirements of the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for ESC established in 2007: ESC is required on all light passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2012. The European Union, China, India and Japan now must propose an ESC requirement in accordance with the regulation agreed to by the working group.

“This is good news for motorists around the world who will benefit from the life-saving benefits of ESC”, said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CTO and Board Member of Continental AG. “Preventing crashes should be the first goal of motor vehicle safety efforts and ESC is among the best technologies available to do so. We were the leader in introducing ESC to the mass market and are working with governments, safety groups and our auto manufacturer customers to make sure consumers understand that ESC is ‘must have’ safety equipment for the next vehicle they purchase.”

Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and serious injury in multiple age groups worldwide and driver error is the most significant factor in most of these crashes. “As a result, drivers need tools to avoid critical situations in daily traffic and help prevent crashes,” said Dr. Ralf Cramer, President of Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division. ESC works to automatically correct oversteer and understeer and helps keep vehicles on the road by comparing the driver’s intended direction with the actual direction of the vehicle. When a discrepancy is detected, ESC applies braking at individual wheels, and reduces engine torque, to help keep the vehicle under the driver’s control.

Neumann hinted at the results of numerous studies in Asia, Europe and North America that demonstrated that ESC can save thousands of lives and significantly reduce the number of crashes. In the U.S. alone, government studies project that more than 10,000 lives a year can be saved, prompting officials to call ESC the greatest vehicle safety device after the seat belt.

"During the last ten years the number of new cars equipped with ESC has risen steadily to a rate of about 50 per cent in the US in 2007, 50 per cent in the EU and 25 per cent in Japan. “So there is still some room left for further improvement”, said Neumann. In 2007 Continental – being one of the two market leaders worldwide - supplied about 8.6 million ESC systems to its OE customers.

“The technological tools necessary for helping make driving as accident-free as humanly possible – or for substantially reducing the incidence of crashes and injuries – is here”, said Cramer. "Electronic Stability Control is a key part of these developments that has made crash-avoidance a primary focus of automakers and their suppliers. Improved sensors, processors and general electronic capabilities lead to a wide range of possibilities to fight the causes of crashes.”

In addition Continental is already taking crash avoidance and management of driving safety to the next level. By integrating its active and passive safety feature portfolio into the ContiGuard® safety system, Continental opens up a new dimension in safety thinking: Continental’s Vision Zero, a vision of modern mobility where traffic fatalities and severe injuries no longer occur.

“Overall these are exciting times for companies in the business of promoting safety", said Neumann. "A Global Technical Requirement means ESC suppliers such as Continental as well as auto manufacturers only have to meet one regulatory standard, not several. This improves efficiency and reduces costs by eliminating market-specific design variations, validation tests and manufacturing requirements."

Press Release (MS-Word, 60 KB)

Press Images in the Continental Media Center:
Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann
Dr. Ralf Cramer

Nicole Geissler

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Division Chassis & Safety

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60488 Frankfurt am Main

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Fax: 0 69 7603-3945