Eureka Prometheus Project

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The Eureka PROMETHEUS Project (PROgraMme for a European Traffic of Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety, 1987–1995) was the largest R&D project ever in the field of driverless cars. It received 749,000,000 in funding from the EUREKA member states,[1] and defined the state of the art of autonomous vehicles. Numerous universities and car manufacturers participated in this Pan-European project.

In formulating the project, the automotive and industrial partners recognised the need for a wide range of skills and cooperated with over forty research establishments to create a programme consisting of seven sub-projects. Under a steering committee were three projects on industrial research and four on basic research.[2]

Industrial research

  • PRO-CAR : Driver assistance by computer systems
  • PRO-NET : Vehicle-to-vehicle communication
  • PRO-ROAD : Vehicle-to-environment communication

Basic Research

  • PRO-ART : Methods and systems of artificial intelligence
  • PRO-CHIP: Custom hardware for intelligent processing in vehicles
  • PRO-COM : Methods and standards for communication
  • PRO-GEN : Traffic scenario for new assessment and introduction of new systems

In 1987, some UK Universities expressed concern that the industrial focus on the project neglected import traffic safety issues such as pedestrian protection. PRO-GEN project leader, the UK Government's Transport and Road Research Laboratory noted that research activities should 'in some way, further the aims of the vehicle companies.[3]


The project culminated in a 'Board Members Meeting' (BMM) on 18–20 October 1994 in Paris.[4] Projects demonstrated ('Common European Demonstrators') were:

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

PROMETHEUS PRO-ART profited from the participation of Ernst Dickmanns, the 1980s pioneer of driverless cars, and his team at Bundeswehr Universität München, collaborating with Daimler-Benz.[5] A first culmination point was achieved in 1994, when their twin robot vehicles VaMP and VITA-2 drove more than 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) on a Paris multi-lane highway in standard heavy traffic at speeds up to 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph). They demonstrated autonomous driving in free lanes, convoy driving, automatic tracking of other vehicles, and lane changes left and right with autonomous passing of other cars.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EUREKA Project E!45 PROMETHEUS". EUREKA website. Archived from the original on 2018-08-14. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  2. ^ Resources for tomorrow's transport. Brussels: European Conference of Transport Ministers (ECMT). 31 October 1989. pp. 455–458. ISBN 92-821-1142-3. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ Information, Reed Business (29 October 1987). "New Scientist" (1584): 30. Retrieved 23 July 2018. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Board Member Meeting Event Guide. PROMETHEUS. 1994.
  5. ^ Delcker, Janosch (19 July 2018). "The man who invented the self-driving car (in 1986)". Politico. Retrieved 23 July 2018.