Why we really shouldn’t be concerned about police getting hold of remote vehicle stopping technology. Aston Martin enjoys perfect conditions in St Moritz, a quick overview of Germany’s best roads, Gibraltar queue watch and a bizarre rocket attack on a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Athens.
EU presses on despite miserable track record with in-car tech.
The dangers of high speed pursuits between police and suspected criminals became only too apparent today after two cyclists were killed in Berkshire.
It comes not long Statewatch.org published documents from ENLETS – the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services – detailing plans to equip police with remote vehicle stopping technology.
By 2015, ENLETS hopes to develop, ‘A technological solution that can be a ‘build in standard’ for all cars that enter the European market’.
The reaction was swift and furious, principally over an overbearing EU, the costs and how the technology could be misused.
The police themselves however are rather keen. Chief Superintendent Martin Evans, head of the UK’s Central Motorway Police Group, also a member of TISPOL, the European Police organisation, told @DriveEurope, ‘I’m always keen to look at safer ways of stopping cars used in serious criminality – improved technology must be able to help.’
This is very similar to the line that came out the last time remote vehicle stopping systems were on the agenda (before being quietly dropped). The Home Office told the Daily Telegraph in 2009 – when text messages sent direct to a car’s CPU were being suggested as a way of stopping criminal’s vehicles – ‘If new technology can help polices stop vehicles more safely and more effectively then it is right that we look at the options carefully.’
At least it seems the technology to stop cars remotely does now exist. Auto Express reported recently about a £12 device that can render a car susceptible to hackers. But there are yawning gaps between what the European Commission wants, what it gets, what it can implement and then enforce, as illustrated by other ambitious pan-European automotive technologies (not to mention the massively late, massively over budget Galileo satnav system).
112 Day this Tuesday was blighted by the news that – six years after its introduction – only 49% of Europeans know they can phone 112 for help in an emergency, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the 28-member EU bloc (plus Norway and Iceland) and in all the main European languages. Furthermore, many countries have failed to implement the caller location technology so help can be summoned as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless, the EU is pressing on with its eCall system in which a car involved in a serious accident calls 112 automatically and sends location data to summon help. The EU’s internal market committee this week passed eCall for mandatory introduction from 2015 (subject to a further vote by the full European parliament on 26 February).
Not in the least deterred by the issues with eCall, the Commissioner responsible Neelie Kroes also announced this week the advent of the ‘connected car’, able to communicate with the infrastructure, and other vehicles, to ensure safe, congestion-free motoring.
Is she having a laugh when she says she also expects this system to be up and running by 2015?
UPDATE 26 February: The European Parliament voted to adopt eCall today but the 2015 implementation date has been postponed and a new date has not been set.
GERMANY. See this overview of the country’s most scenic roads – from the Wine Routes to the Fairytale Road, Black Forest High Road, Romantic Road, Alpine Road, Half-timbered House Road, the Romanesque Road (and the Football Road and Road of Industrial Culture). GIBRALTAR. Frontier queues reached two hours last night and did not finally clear until 02:00 this morning reports @RGPolice. GREECE. A rocket propelled grenade was fired at a Mercedes dealership in northern Athens as part of ‘a campaign against the German capitalist machine’ last month though the details, and crater, didn’t come to light until the group behind it claimed responsibility on Tuesday. FUEL. A new marker for diesel will be launched in both Ireland and the UK reports @Cathal_Mirror, designed to combat fuel laundering.