The Business of Mobility is an Urban Mobility Weekly series that highlights some of the most successful businesses in the mobility sector. In this article, Pernilla Arnell and Laurent Lamothe, introduce Autoliv, a company with a 70-year history of automotive safety. They explain how this firm is addressing the safety of vulnerable road users and saving more lives through digitalisation and smart connectivity.
Our vision – saving more lives
Saving more lives is the concern that drives us at Autoliv. With our protective systems, such as airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels, we have a record of providing world-class safety solutions. Every year our products save over 30,000 lives and prevent ten times as many severe injuries. While the Autoliv brand may be little known to consumers, the automotive sector relies on our expertise. Our research-intensive products can be found in 44% of all cars. For the past 70 years, we’ve built a reputation for designing, engineering and improving vehicle safety and reducing traffic accidents. There is no second chance to save a life, and we are committed to staying at the forefront of technology and to keep manufacturing high quality products to save more lives in the traffic.
Circumstances result in Motorists’ safety being prioritized over vulnerable road users
Increasing urbanisation means that roads and pavements are shared by pedestrians, cars, bicycles, and, more recently, new micromobility vehicles such as electric scooters/e-scooters. This means there are many more vulnerable road users (VRUs). But motorists’ convenience is often prioritised, and VRU fatalities are a global challenge. Of the 1.35 million people who die in traffic accidents every year, just under half have less crash protection than the occupants of a motor vehicle.
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Stepping outside the car
Society is adapting rapidly to new forms of mobility. We are researching new solutions to make the journey to anyone’s destination safer. Our commitment to saving more lives means we must also step outside the car and look at the trip from door to door. More awareness of VRUs and improved driver behaviour is needed, especially in emerging markets. We are looking at how to address the safety needs of two- and three-wheeled powered vehicles, across the globe. Currently we are in development-phase of an in-bike airbag for two wheelers and talking to potential customers. We intend to use our expertise and intellectual property to promote good road citizenship for all mobility services.
Democratise traffic safety
Our safety and innovation agenda is to “democratise traffic safety” and encourage collective action to protect all road users. We offer a suite of four connected safety services that improve safety outside the car.
- Physical products: Autoliv has different types of “on-bike” equipment and safety gear. For example, foldable helmets or airbag vests. An online shop could cater for both for B2C and B2B. We can link a user profile to the “rider DNA” and generate a customized offer.
- Testing capabilities: Autoliv has 20 crash-test tracks around the globe. These facilities allow us to focus on regional safety issues. Scooters, for example, can be tested and classified. Or a company’s safety hypothesis can be verified or validated on the track or in the laboratory. For example Autoliv might use its advanced equipment to simulate real life accidents and test helmets for an insurance company.
- Digital services: Autoliv is committed to nurturing better driver behaviour. We have a mobile suite of services for both businesses and customers. We have a “Safety Score” that is based on data collected from the user’s smartphone. The more safe-driving behaviours that are exhibited over an array of data points such as turning, acceleration, braking, speed and distractions, the higher the score. The app also collects and compares data on weather, type of roads driven on, time of day and trip duration. This information is used to analyse driving, offer visualisations and recommend improvements.
- Consultation and research: Autoliv is “the brain of safety”. We use our extensive knowledge of safety and data management/analysis to support businesses, organisations or authorities. For example, we can support rental companies in setting safety strategies and help them to collect and analyse data.
Our human body model simulation methodology
Autoliv has come a long way since 1953. We also have millions of reasons to do more. So, as we look into the future, we have the opportunity to build upon our core capabilities with life-saving Innovations for mobility. While we began our safety journey within the car, we are now extending our expertise to society, using our human body model-simulation methodology. This methodology makes it easier and cheaper to adapt a safety model to any individual in a variety of contexts. Autoliv can correlate its model to specific needs, such as a micromobility service. We do not offer only physical safety products. We also offer our intellectual property to our customers. Our IP sits in the centre, and can be built out in different kinds of products and services.
Being a global company means we can address specific markets. For example, in Asia, a digital solution might address a particular educational niche with digital nudges. While in a European market, we might add features to existing safety products. With our human body model-simulation methodology, we can connect with local institutions and data from all regions. That means we can adapt our solutions and products for mobility needs, no matter where they are in the world, and whether they are inside or outside a vehicle.