Lights on! GM’s Opel awarded the Allianz Genius 2010 Safety Prize

Sydney, 19 April 2010

The Allianz Group has awarded its annual Genius safety prize for the sixth time. This year’s winner is Adam Opel GmbH, the German subsidiary of General Motors, for the development and introduction of an innovative headlamp system that automatically adjusts to many different driving situations. With the prize, Allianz recognizes the dedication of the automotive industry and works to increase the popularity of safety systems.

“More than 40 percent of all fatal accidents happen at night, particularly between 11pm and 4am,” says Nicholas Scofield, General Manager Corporate Affairs at Allianz Australia. “The victims are often pedestrians and cyclists who are seen too late.”

Car drivers feel safer with a good lighting system. They can see better, there is less glare and they can recognise bicycle riders and pedestrians quickly and react appropriately. This year’s prizewinner has successfully developed innovative technology for difficult driving situations, thereby improving safety.

Opel received the prize for its adaptive AFL+ (Adaptive Forward Lighting) headlamps. The new lighting concept makes it possible to maximize visual range and illumination of the roadside without blinding oncoming traffic. The AFL+ was offered on the Opel Insignia, which is sold in Europe, for the first time in 2008, and on the Astra from Autumn 2009.

The new AFL+ adaptive headlamp is the most advanced system available anywhere in the world. It has nine different light functions, each of which is automatically activated depending on the driving situation, ensuring optimum lighting of the road.

Numerous vehicle sensors – including speed, steering wheel angle and rain sensors, as well as the optical sensor of the advanced driver assistance system – provide information to the steering electronics about road profile, driving style and visual conditions. Software determines in fractions of a second which light function is best for the individual situation.

For example, at low speeds in city traffic, broad distribution of the light makes it easier to see pedestrians and less well-lit objects at the side of the road. When driving on freeways, the AFL+ increases the power of the xenon headlamps from 33 to 38 watts, again with considerable improvements to illumination and safety. When switching from low beams to high beams or vice versa, the color and intensity of the light remains unchanged, which is easier on the eye.

“The new headlamp system makes it possible to maximise the visual range and illumination of the roadside without blinding other drivers. That considerably reduces the risk of accidents at twilight and at night,” Mr Scofield said.

Allianz Australia - General Insurance Company of the Year 2009*

The Allianz Australia Group operates in Australia and New Zealand. It includes one of Australia’s largest general insurers, a leading private workers’ compensation insurer, and a life insurer.
Greenhouse Challenge Plus
Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal, commercial and corporate insurance products and services. It is proud to be of service to more than 2 million policy holders and over 50% of Australia’s top 200 BRW listed companies have some form of insurance cover with the group.

Allianz Australia offers a wide range of insurance products and services including car insurance, home insurance and Life insurance.

Allianz Australia has approximately 3300 staff and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the worldwide Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest financial services companies.

The Allianz Group’s commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability has been acknowledged internationally by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which recognised the Allianz Group as the most sustainable primary insurance company in the world since 2006. In Australia, Allianz Australia participated in the Greenhouse Challenge Plus (GHC+) program - a cooperative partnership between industry and the Australian Government that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - and continues to adopt the GHC+ principles.

*Australian and New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards