Eric Liu is the Senior Technology and Project Planning Manager for the Volvo Group in China. Based in Shanghai, he spends a large proportion of his time out in various events raising awareness of better road safety and telling people about the Volvo Group’s work in road safety and new technology.
“The key words in my work are road safety and China. It’s a combination that’s a major challenge by itself,” he says, before describing how the country has rapidly grown into one of the world’s biggest economies.
“One of the consequences of that is that there’s been a great increase in the need for transport, as a result of which the number of serious road accidents has become a major problem in Chinese society,” he explains.
According to Eric, it is important to do preventive work to reduce the number of road accidents, and that is something he is involved in via a range of forums. Among other things, he is involved in and heads up a research programme in China by the name of CIDAS: the China-In-Depth Accident Study. The programme involves 22 different partners and Volvo Group was one of the founding members. The aim of CIDAS is to investigate and analyse what Chinese road accidents look like, why they happen and what kind of countermeasures will contribute to improve road safety in China.
“So far, we’ve investigated over 800 accidents across China and collected a lot of important data,” he says.
What is more, since 2012 the Volvo Group is deeply involved in a road safety collaboration between China and Sweden: the China Sweden Research Centre for Traffic Safety (CTS). Together with a number of top universities, institutes and industry partners from both countries, various research projects are being undertaken concerning safety and the traffic situation in China.
Eric Liu believes that the research is making progress and that many of the accidents could be avoided through improved knowledge and a change in behaviour on the roads.
“We see, for example, that many trucks are overloaded or that the drivers don’t maintain enough distance from the vehicle in front,” he says, going on to highlight the importance of offering training for truck drivers and fleets.
“The Volvo Group has a good reputation here in China. Not just because our vehicles are safe, but also precisely because we help provide good road safety training. It’s important that we are seen and heard,” he says.
Eric Liu is hopeful for the future. The Chinese authorities are working on improving road safety with an ambition to reduce China´s road accidents and deaths by 90% by 2030. China has prioritized vehicle automation and connectivity as a national strategy in the next decade.
“Road safety always will stay in the center and Volvo Group could continuously contribute. Worth mentioning is also that Chinese authorities and public have accepted the “Vision Zero”. There’s a long way to go, but we’re on the right track,” Eric Liu says.