The European Commission hosted its first conference on Connected and Automated Driving (CAD) in Brussels on the 3rd and 4th April 2017, supported by the two EU-funded projects CARTRE and SCOUT.
A high-ranking event, in which various initiatives, stakeholders and member states of the European Union presented their actions. However, the key question of the whole event was: How connected is Europe really, and where does it drive?
Connected and Automated Driving addresses several societal issues, such as the promise to significantly improve road safety, substantially lower environmentally harming emissions and all in all ensure more comfort for passengers and road users.
Even though OEMs are advanced in terms of technological progress, the way to all these positive benefits is still rough. Topics like establishing a harmonized legal framework that creates the possibility to guarantee high safety standards for all citizens of the European Union as well as the proper use of data are only two aspects that are crucial for the introduction of connected and automated vehicles.
Connected cars, connected Europe?
“For connected cars we need a connected Europe. We must join efforts,” stated Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. In this regard it is very clear that all stakeholders need to share information to coordinate the actions from the single players. Collaboration and intersection of different disciplines and branches like the telecom and automotive industry are key for the success of CAD in Europe. An important step in this direction is clearly the Declaration of Amsterdam (2016) on Connected and Automated Driving. Member states, the European Commission and the private sector have agreed on joint goals and joint actions to facilitate the introduction of Connected and Automated Driving on Europe’s roads.
Another important step happened on March 23, 2017 in Rome: 29 European Countries signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) on the testing and large scale demonstrations of Connected and Automated Driving. The signed letter is the next step in implementing modern roadside assistance technologies. The aim is to build European solutions that will ensure the mutual cooperation of automated movement and transport systems throughout the European Union. The LOI is intended to harmonize the work of individual states in this area and to contribute to the development of automatic vehicle technology.
Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport (MOVE) stated at the CAD conference, that Europe needs to lead and shape up its future. In this regard, we have to ask ourselves: What kind of mobility do we want? Understanding people’s desires is key to implement the technology. Ms Bulc also referred to the funding Europe is providing for CAD. With 360 Mio. Euros in the last two years the funding situation is continuously growing.
Looking at the benefits and costs of the whole value chain though, road safety is crucial for the successful introduction of CAD. Claire Depré, Head of Unit, DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE), European Commission urged that we cannot make money out of road safety but that we need effective showcases.
What can be learned from other industries?
Is the automated and connected car just a more complex form of a mobile phone moving around the world? In this regard, the speakers from the panel discussion agreed upon the importance of crossboarder services and highlighted the relevance of learning from the telecom industry. Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Cars gave insights into Volvos research and development with a focus on the people: “This technology has to be accepted by the people first. Sharing of data is very important, but it has to be done very openly and free”, Samuelsson said.
EU Member States are testing
Cooperation is key: CAD is clearly a crosscutting issue regarding liability, data, vehicle safety, regulation and standardization as well as connectivity infrastructure. CARTRE, SCOUT and the C-Roads platform are already facilitating interoperability and collaboration on an EU-level. In addition, the high-level group GEAR 2030 works on the first recommendations for Connected and Automated Driving in the European Union.
In the second day’s conference session representatives from the EU Member States Finland, France, Sweden, Austria, Spain and yes, the UK had the chance to give insights into their actions and policy programs on Connected and Automated Driving. Austria, represented by Henriette Spyra, Strategic Coordinator Mobility Transformation & Transport (BMVIT), has installed a single point of contact at the AustriaTech for all issues regarding testing. All member states were invited to contact them for testing issues.
In the end, the speakers agreed on a more holistic view on Connected and Automated Driving: besides a harmonized legal framework, it is most important to realise the potentials of digitization, electrification and an active government.
Next stops: Strasbourg & Vienna
In June 2017 the ERTICO - ITS Europe organises the ITS European Conference at Strasbourg. It focuses on current developments for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) where stakeholders will present their showcases, testing results and projects on Connected and Automated Driving.
From 16th to 19th April 2018 Europe’s biggest Transport Research Conference, the Transport Research Arena (TRA), will take place in Vienna. The TRA 2018 focuses on the digital era for transport as well as solutions for society, economy and environment. International experts will discuss about the latest research results and future developments in mobility and transport, Connected and Automated Driving.
We are looking forward to discussing further issues with you here or there!