Draft EU Regulation on Advanced Driver Distraction Warning Systems Published
EU Regulation 2019/2144 on "the type approval requirements of motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users", more commonly referred to as General Safety Regulation 2 or GSR 2, requires motor vehicles to be equipped with two systems which are both intended to ensure that the driver is paying attention to the traffic situation around the vehicle whenever the vehicle is in motion.
The first of these systems is a Driver Drowsiness and Attention Warning (DDAW) system. DDAW systems are defined in (EU) 2019/2144 as systems that "assess the driver’s alertness though vehicle systems analysis and warn the driver if needed". The fitment of a DDAW system became mandatory for all new types of M and N category vehicle (i.e. all passenger carrying and all goods carrying motor vehicles) from July 6, 2022, and becomes mandatory for all new M and N category vehicles from July 7, 2024. The technical requirements which DDAW systems must comply with are specified in EU Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1341.
The other system is an Advanced Driver Distraction and Warning (ADDW) system. ADDW systems are defined in (EU) 2019/2144 as systems that "help the driver to continue to pay attention to the traffic situation and warn the driver when he or she is distracted". The fitment of an ADDW system becomes mandatory for all new types of M and N category vehicle from July 7, 2024, and becomes mandatory for all new M and N category vehicles from July 7, 2026.
In 2021, the European Commission undertook some detailed research into ADDW systems, including consultations with various vehicle and component manufacturers that had developed such systems. Based on the results from that research, the European Commission developed some initial technical requirements and test procedures that could be used for the type approval of ADDW systems. These initial proposals were further refined by a specific Sub Group of the European Commission’s Motor Vehicle Working Group (MVWG), which met seven times between June 2022 and February 2023. The results of their work were published by the European Commission on March 24, 2023, in the form of a draft Delegated Regulation on the test procedures and technical requirements for the type approval of ADDW systems, with the reference Ares(2023)2154725.
The draft Regulation specifies that the ADDW system must monitor the direction of the driver’s gaze, i.e. the direction in which the driver is looking, whenever the system is in operation. To determine when the driver’s attention is "distracted", the draft Regulation defines a specific downward vision area, which is likely to include the driver’s lap, the passenger footwell, the centre console, etc. The driver’s attention is considered to be "distracted" if the driver’s gaze is fixed in this area for a prolonged period (refer to performance criteria bullet point below for details on time periods).
The key technical requirements that ADDW systems must comply with include requirements on:
- Operating conditions - Specifying the conditions under which the system must be operable, e.g. the ADDW system must be automatically activated at speeds above 20km/h, the system must operate under both daytime and night time conditions, etc.
- Performance criteria - Specifying that, at speeds between 20km/h and 50km/h, the ADDW system must give a warning if the driver’s gaze remains within the defined "distracted" vision area for more than 6 seconds. For speeds above 50km/h, the ADDW system must give a warning if the driver’s gaze remains within the defined "distracted" vision area for more than 3.5 seconds.
- Driver warnings - Specifying that the ADDW system must provide a visual warning, plus an acoustic and/or haptic warning whenever driver distraction is detected. These warnings may cascade and intensify until the driver distraction ceases.
- System failure - Specifying the failures within the ADDW system which must be detected and how they must be advised to the driver.
- Roadworthiness testing provisions - Specifying how the correct operational status of the ADDW must be able to be determined during a roadworthiness test.
To confirm compliance with the above technical requirements, the draft Regulation specifies detailed test procedures which a representative vehicle, equipped with an ADDW system, must be subjected to. These tests may be carried out on a test track or on a rolling road. The test procedures define a number of "gaze fixation points", e.g. the driver’s left knee, glove box, air vents, etc., and checks to confirm the correct operation of the system are carried out with the driver’s gaze directed at each of these points. These checks must be carried out at both a lower speed, 20-35km/h and at a higher speed, 50-65km/h. If the ADDW systems does not trigger a warning during any of these checks, the check can be repeated up to two times.
In addition to this testing, the vehicle manufacturer must also compile a documentation package containing technical details of the ADDW system and its operation, details of the test procedures used to determine the effectiveness of the ADDW system and a full set of test results from the validation tests undertaken on the ADDW systems using human participants. The Technical Service will fully assess all of the information contained within this documentation package to ensure that all aspects of the ADDW system’s design, operation and performance have been duly considered and that the test results from the validation tests adequately demonstrate compliance with the specified requirements.