Anton van Zanten (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube) - Credit: Anton van Zanten (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)
Thursday, 28 April 2016 - 16:30
Dutch engineer behind electronic car stabilization nominated for award
Dutch engineer Anton van Zanten (75) was nominated to win the European Inventor Award in the category “Lifetime achievement” for inventing the electronic stability system for cars. According to Benoît Battistelli, President of European Patent Office,k the system made the streets "much more safe" and Van Zanten "saved thousands of human lives". Anton van Zanten studied mechanical engineering at the Eindhoven University of technology. After a PhD at the Cornell University, he worked an entire life in the Germany Bosch company. During these years he filed 180 patents, 36 of which deal with road safety. Among these is his electronic stability control system (ESC), also known as ESP (electronic stability program). The system springs into action when a car moves in a different direction of the way of steer, for example when a driver slams on the breaks: the ESP balances the vehicle within a hundredth of a second, faster than a human could ever hope to respond. The US National Highways Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) has calculated that ESC prevents 34% of all vehicle accidents and 70% of possible fatal vehicle rollovers. This is why ESP is considered the single most important vehicle safety system after the seatbelt. Van Zanten achieved his breakthrough in 1987, though the serial production of the system only began in 1995. Between its commercial launch in 1995 and 2010, Bosch reportedly sold 52 million ESC systems, well before the system became mandatory for all new European cars in 2014. Currently 64% of the cars are worldwide equipped with ESP. The 15 finalists of the award were selected by an independent international jury out of nearly 400 individuals and teams of inventors proposed for this year's award. They are people who “make our lives safer and easier, challenge us to scale new heights and allow us to communicate faster. They have advanced technology, and helped generate economic value and employment in Europe and around the world”, epo.org states. The 11th edition of the award will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on 9 June, when the winners will be announced at a ceremony attended by prominent representatives of the worlds of politics, business, research and industry.