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Safety in Vigilance. 10/2/04
The French government is taking a keen interest in the trials of a device which, it is hoped, will result in a significant saving of life on the national roads network.

The Vigilant telematics device was developed about eight years ago by a French entrepreneur and was designed as an inexpensive car-to-car and car-to-roadside semi-automatic wireless communications system for use in emergencies. It is now on trial with SAPRR (Société des Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhône), the regional French motorway operator, on the A6 around Chalon-sur-Saône.

With a range of around 1Km, the after-market device is activated by the driver following a collision or other emergency. Signals from the device are transmitted to the nearest road-side emergency call-post and from there to the local gendarmerie and central Motorway Safety control room, via the RAU (Réseau d'Appel d'Urgence), the national emergency call network infrastructure. Here details of the location of the incident are logged and police dispatched or the incident remotely investigated, using existing CCTV cameras. The signals can also be received by any, following, Vigilant-equipped vehicles, providing them with advance warning of the obstruction.

"We have installed 30 Vigilant devices on existing roadside furniture over a 30 Km stretch of the A6," said M. Daniel Lauton, the project manager. "The early results are encouraging, particularly since the roadside mounted Vigilant device is connected directly to the existing communications network."

At a cost of around €100 each, Vigilant is aimed at filling a gap in the market left by the introduction of OEM location-based telematics devices fitted to top-of-the-range cars.

"It will be several years before life-saving OEM systems of this type are fitted to vehicles, across the price range, as standard," said Jean-Marc Baggio, the man who invented and developed Vigilant. "And even longer before the benefits can filter down to the second-hand car market. In the meantime, people will continue to die because of the time taken to inform the emergency services. Vigilant plugs this gap, potentially enabling everyone to have fast access to the emergency services."

Currently using a 'free' wireless frequency transmitting at less that 10 milliwatts, the range of the device is severely limited, a handicap that SAPRR's Lauton is confident will be overcome once the system has been accepted for national deployment. At that stage, the device will be converted to allow it to transmit at the national alert frequency, giving a range of up to 5Km.

"I'm optimistic," said Lauton. "A system like this should have been introduced years ago. It would have avoided numerous deaths caused by (multiple pile-ups). Its benefits include immediate information of a collision or emergency and the faster despatch of the emergency services."

Results of the trial will be sent to the Ministére des Transport with a view to the deployment of the system at a national level. Longer term aspirations include a pan-European deployment.

Further information, contact:
1. Daniel Lauton, project manager for the SAPRR trials, Paris. Tel: #33 38 02 67 005, Mobile: 0676856903, E-mail: d.lauton@saprr.fr
2. Jean-Marc Baggio of Vigilant. Tel: #33 38 77 03 499, E-mail: jmbaggio@aol.com
 
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