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European Eureka Project - PROgraMme for a European Traffic of Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety (PROMETHEUS)

Project: Research


PROMETHEUS was a research programme headed by car manufacturers from six European countries. The University of Portsmouth received £513,450 (a small part of the €749,000,000 in funding) to investigate Pro-Net and then Pro-Road. Pro-Net developed a communication network between vehicle-computers, enabling a vehicle to be driven safely by means of “electronic sight”, increasing the perception area of the driver. Pro-Road developed a roadside communication and information system to assist a driver and/or onboard-computer to enable higher level traffic management.

PROMETHEUS as a whole created concepts and solutions for a road traffic system which was more efficient and less detrimental to the environment and that guaranteed an unprecedented degree of safety. Deficiencies of present road traffic systems were considered and new information control and management systems were developed using microelectronics, information processing and artificial intelligence. European Government programmes on traffic research were supplemented and enhanced and the development of microelectronics was promoted. European Industry was placed into a stronger position for future autonomous driving.

Funding was in three tranches between 1987 and 1993 (the first part of the project being led by Professor Jan Stuart). The European project continued after that but without participation from the University of Portsmouth.

Layman's description

PROMETHEUS took place from 1987 to 1995. Sanders and the University of Portsmouth were involved from 1987 to 1992. It was the largest R&D project ever in the field of driverless cars and received €749,000,000 in funding from the EUREKA member states. The project defined the state of the art for autonomous vehicles. Numerous other universities and car manufacturers participated in this Pan-European project. Main collaborators with the University of Portsmouth were: Econocruise,the Husat Research Centre, Jaguar Cars, Lucas Automotive, GEC, Brunel, Aberdeen, & Sheffield Universities, Rolls-royce, Pilkington Technology Centre, Mva Systematica, Ian Catling Consultancy, Salplex and TRW.

Key findings

Defined state of the art for autonomous vehicles split into ten Common European Demonstrators (CEDs).
CED 1 : Vision Enhancement
CED 2-1 : Friction Monitoring and Vehicle Dynamics
CED 2-2 : Lane Keeping Support
CED 2-3 : Visibility Range Monitoring
CED 2-4 : Driver Status Monitoring
CED 3 : Collision Avoidance
CED 4 : Cooperative Driving
CED 5 : Autonomous Intelligent Cruise Control
CED 6 : Automatic Emergency Call
CED 7 : Fleet Management
CED 9 : Dual Mode Route Guidance
CED 10: Travel and Traffic Information Systems
Short titleTraffic Efficiency & Safety
Effective start/end date7/03/8714/11/92

Collaborative partners

  • Sextant Avionique (lead)
  • Electrolux Italia S.p.a.
  • Rijkswaterstaat
  • Magneti Marelli S.p.a. (venaria Reale)
  • University of Bordeaux
  • University of Paris
  • Cabinet Hanne
  • Compagnie Europeenne Des Accumulateurs (ceac)
  • Imag
  • Thales
  • Renault
  • Aeg/cap Debis Gei (berlin)
  • Bosch Gmbh (headquarters)
  • EADS Astrium
  • Econocruise Limited
  • Ericsson AB
  • Fiat
  • Husat Research Centre
  • Istituto Elettrotecnico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris, Turin
  • Ian Catling Consultancy
  • Jaguar Cars Limited
  • Lucas Automotive Limited
  • Michelin C.e.r.l. / Ladoux Sce Er
  • Opel Ag
  • Prysmian Group
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Saab-scania Ab
  • Seat
  • Siemens
  • Transport And Road Research Laboratory
  • Trw
  • Swedish National Road Administration
  • Brunel University
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Stuttgart
  • Volvo Truck Corporation
  • Volkswagen AG
  • GEC Telecommunications
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Stirling
  • Ford Motor
  • Porsche Ag (weissach)

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