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]

The next culmination point was achieved in 1995, when Dickmanns´ re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes-Benz took a 1,000 miles (1,600 km) trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark and back, using saccadic computer vision and transputers to react in real time. The robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 kilometres per hour (109 mph) on the German Autobahn, with a mean time between human interventions of 9 kilometres (5.6 mi). In traffic it executed manoeuvres to pass other cars. Despite being a research system without emphasis on long distance reliability, it drove up to 158 kilometres (98 mi) without any human intervention.[6] Dickmann for his contributions to autonomous driving received the Eduard-Rhein-Foundation Technology Award 2017 for "For Pioneering Contributions to Autonomic Driving"

PROMETHEUS PRO-COM was driven by Daimler-Benz,[Robert Bosch (Blaupunkt, Hildesheim)] and two teams of [RWTH-Aachen University] , namely teams of [Otto Spaniol] and [Bernhard Walke]

Main results were drive measurements at 5.9 GHz to characterize the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) [radio propagation] . Further, [Medium Access Control] [communication protocols] were developed and their [network performance] were evaluated by use of [stochastic] [system level simulation] . The simulation technique applied, e.g., for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication analysis is described in [Carl-Herbert Rokitansky, Christian Wietfeld, Christian Plenge: SIMCO3++: SImulation of Mobile COmmunications based on Realistic Mobility Models and Road Traffic Scenarios. In Proceeding IMACS 1994, 795–801, Vienna, Austri, 02/1994] .

A concise description of the protocols developed in PRO-COM and their relative network performance is contained in [Christian Plenge: The Performance of Medium Access Protocols for Inter-Vehicle Communication Systems. In 2. ITG-Fachtagung Mobile Kommunikation '95, Neu Ulm, Germany, Sept. 1995, VDE-Verlag, 189-197] . Among these is the [DCAP protocol] [Bernhard Walke, Wei Zhu, Thomas Hellmich: DCAP: A Decentral Channel Access Protocol: Performance Analysis, In Proceedings 41st IEEE Vehicular Technology Conf., 463–467, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, May 1991] . This protocol is in large part a template for [4G] [LTE Advanced] protocol LTE-Vehicular, currently standardized as "side link (mode 4)" [3GPP,“Architecture enhancements for V2X services (v14.3.0, Release 14),” 3GPP, Tech. Rep. 23.285, June 2017] for V2V communication, see also [Rafael Molina-Masegosa and Javier Gozalvez: A New 5G Technology for Short-Range Vehicle-to-Everything Communications, IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine, December 2017, 30-39] .


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EUREKA Project E!45 PROMETHEUS". EUREKA website. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  2. ^ Resources for tomorrow's transport. Brussels: European Conference of Transport Ministers (ECMT). pp. 455–458. ISBN 92-821-1142-3. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ "New Scientist" (1584). 29 October 1987: 30. Retrieved 23 July 2018. 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.
  6. ^ "Long distance drive VaMP 1995 (Munich − Odense, Denmark)". Ernst D. Dickmanns. Retrieved 2016-02-13.