The European Commission organised a European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving (CAD) in Brussels on 3rd- 4th April 2017. This event was organised with the support of the EC-funded projects CARTRE (Coordination of Automated Road Transport Deployment for Europe) and SCOUT (Safe and Connected Automation in road Transport). The conference aimed at taking stock of the progress made in CAD technologies, such as advanced vehicle control, vehicle localisation systems, data processing, artificial intelligence or user interfaces, fostered by Horizon 2020.

The event was attended by major road transport stakeholders and was an occasion to learn from the EU Member States about their national initiatives on CAD. Mr Sencerin from the French Autonomous Vehicle Automobile Platform (PFA)/New French Industrial Plan (NFI) gave an overview of the work his organisation is carrying together with around 100 companies towards developing experimentations for 2018. On the other hand, a Swedish representative explained that Sweden established a strategic innovation program for collaboration among government and industry and a 5G test arena. Mr Ian Forbes, Head of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (UK) reminded that last year the government launched a program focusing on areas such as tests and use of vehicles. Austria also established a framework for testing last year with use cases as a legal basis. During the event, Spanish representative stressed that Spain prefers focusing on interpretation rather than creating a new legal framework for CAD and is launching a connected platform intended as a free hub, in which anonymous data can be provided. Finally, another representative stated that Finland is engaged in cross-border testing with Norway. All in all, speakers agreed on the need for the Member States to work together on cross-border testing and trials for self-driving cars.

Ms Claire Depré representative of the European Commission (Head of unit at DG Move), provided the overall state of play by stressing that the deployment of CAD in Europe has been complex and the commercialization of such vehicles will start in 2019. She also pointed the role of Public-Private Partnerships in this process through the C-ITS Platform. At EU-level, policy and regulatory actions in favour of CAD are already taking place within the Commission and the Member States but cross-cutting issues arise (traffic law, liability, vehicle certification, connectivity infrastructure, etc.) involving different departments within the Commission or within the Member States which require working together in a coherent manner. This is the reason why the Commission launched at the beginning of 2016 the GEAR 2030 High-level group to provide recommendations for the deployment of CAD. As stressed by Mr Cozigou (Director of industrial transformation and advanced value Chains) from DG GROW, GEAR 2030 aims at setting a long-term roadmap based on the principles of openness and transparency. He informed that the Commission wants to come out with an integrated EU strategy in 2017. The strategy will mainly focus on type-approval, new liability schemes and data.

During the conference, several industry players also emphasised their approach and priorities in the deployment of CAD. VW stressed its core priorities were electromobility and 5G connectivity. ACEA (the European carmakers Association) underlined that it is now crucial that the European Union provides the right legal and regulatory framework conditions and support to research projects and large-scale trials. In this context, the need for standards arises in areas such as safety since CAD foresees a new business model encompassing new services and alliances with non-automotive players (e.g. telecommunications operators). This is why a level playing field with an adequate level of safety is required.

The last part of the Conference gave an overview of policies and actions undertaken in different regions of the world. Japan developed SIp-ADUs, a 4-year project started in 2014 which promotes collaboration between government and industry, in the fields of harmonisation and standardisation. In Singapore, the government has developed plans related to electrified automated shared mobility with the objective of implementing the concept of a future city with self-driving vehicles. Finally, Dr Steven Shladoverm (a researcher from University of California) identified the benefits of international cooperation in order to develop global standards. In his view, a software safety design methodology and an efficient verification and validation methods are still needed. On the contrary, topics less suited for cooperation are the design of vehicle technologies, impact assessments, education and regulatory constraints. Dr Shladoverm explained there are different approaches to international standards (perspective vs. descriptive and voluntary vs. mandatory).

By Logos Public Affairs

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