Prometheus - A Cooperative Effort of the European Automotive Manufacturers 942430
Social and economic welfare of modern societies are founded on a well functioning industry and transportation system. Transport must secure that people and goods arrive cost efficient on reliable time at their destination. The European Communities, today the European Union and many Member States on national basis enhance productivity and competitivity of both industry and transportation by publicly funded research programs. Joint research has proven effective and efficient. In Germany, since more than 30 years joint research in the pre-competitive area of internal combustion engines is tradition. Since the late 70ies a Joint Research Committee on the European platform has extended joint research to other areas of the vehicle technology. Thus it was a kind of evolution when Daimler-Benz AG started the initiative in 1985 to establish the framework for PROMETHEUS. Recently, EUCAR has been founded, an organization of the European Automotive Manufacturers to extend their joint activities from pre-competitive research to pre-development and manufacturing technologies in this industry.
Public support was obtained through the EUREKA initiative and funds from national governments. Later PROMETHEUS companies negotiated with the Commission of the European Communities and supported the creation of the DRIVE Program, part of the 3rd Framework Program for Research and Technology Development. DRIVE stands for Dedicated Road Infrastructure for Vehicle Safety in Europe. This program supported parts of the PROMETHEUS Program. Today, within the 4th Framework Program for Research, Technology Development, and Demonstration the focus of the activities aims at innovations and markets.
After 8 years of effective and efficient work in PROMETHEUS this phase will terminate by end of this year. Communication and Information technologies have been tested which allow better transport management. Through PROMETHEUS a step forward had been initiated which had many followers in USA - Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems - and in Japan: Tools are available for implementation of sophisticated transport management measures. Decisions how to apply these tools have still to be taken!
The 13 PROMETHEUS companies consider this joint effort as a success. With this experience the automotive manufacturers are about to launch a more specific 4 years PROGRAMME FOR MOBILITY AND TRANSPORT IN EUROPE - PROMOTE. Under this program electronics and components suppliers will join in more actively from the beginning: It is also to address problems not yet solved. Through PROMETHEUS and consequently DRIVE - “Transport Telematics” - implementation of sophisticated transport management is on the agenda of politicians - Council of Transport Ministers of the European Union - and of private companies together with regions and municipalities in Europe. Co-operation is a must! A mental shift to extend collaboration also in other areas a develop strong partnerships among authorities and private organizations active and concerned in the wide area of transportation is necessary. Consensus is need among society at large, industry, unions, and policy to go onto the next step on our way to a future goal. Vision will provide the power and direction of our actions.