In 2016, over 25,600 people died and another 1.4 million sustained injuries in road accidents in Europe, as per the 2018 Community database on Accidents on the Roads in Europe. Sadly, most of the accidents are preventable, as they are a result of human errors, such as not paying attention on the road and driving over the posted speed limit. This is why the European Union (EU) has swung into action and is taking concrete steps to bring down the road accident incidence and mortality in the region.
One of the EU’s steps in this regard is making the installation of the eCall feature in automobiles mandatory. The system automatically alerts emergency services in case of a major accident, which, as per the EU, can save up to 2,500 lives each year. Due to such measures, the European automotive telematics market is expected to reach $37,249.8 million in 2030 from $7,340.3 million in 2019, at a massive 16.1% CAGR between 2020 and 2030. This is because it is through telematics solutions that the eCall system dials the emergency number and intimates the authorities of the accident location.
Telematics encompasses a range of technologies and applications that collectively allow vehicles to share data with the outside world. These include infotainment and navigation, safety and security, fleet/asset management, remote diagnostics, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, and insurance telematics services, with each of them encompassing several related services. Among these, the demand for telematics services in Europe is expected to rise the fastest in the coming years on account of the strong focus of the EU on making roads safer for those inside and outside automobiles.
Moreover, in other parts of the world, experiments regarding the use of telematics to increase road safety have been paying dividend. For instance, the U.S. Department of Transportation installed a Variable Speed Management System on a particular stretch of Colorado State Highway 82 in Snowmass Canyon notorious for its high winter accident rate. In the first month of the experiment itself, the number of accidents on the stretch reduced to naught! Thus, the positive results coming from such experimentation would definitely prompt European authorities and people to use telematics solutions in automobiles for safety and security.
Apart from the efforts for road safety improvement, another factor driving the installation of automotive telematics solutions in Europe is the rising adoption of autonomous vehicles. Telematics is everything for such automobiles, as without it they cannot communicate with the road transport infrastructure and satellite navigation systems, which is important if they are to drive themselves! Self-driving vehicles, even level 1–3 autonomous vehicles, have eye tracking, speech recognition, virtual assistance, driver monitoring, natural language interfaces, gesture recognition, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), all of which depend on telematics.
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Presently, Germany is the most important country in the European automotive telematics market, as per P&S Intelligence, due to the strong government focus on making roads safer. Additionally, the country is the headquarters of numerous luxury carmakers, many of which are ardently pursuing autonomous vehicle pilot projects. The country amended the German Road Traffic Act in June 2017 to allow drivers to let the autopilot take over the vehicle driving. A month earlier, the German government had okayed the operation of any level of autonomous vehicles on roads, provided a human is behind the wheel, for emergency.
Therefore, as the EU and local governments increase their focus on road safety and autonomous driving, the demand for automotive telematics solutions will rise massively in the region.