European automotive and telecoms industries launch connected and automated driving project


Europe’s leading trade associations for the telecommunications and the automotive sectors have announced that they intend to launch a large-scale, pre-deployment project to test connected and automated driving at a European Union (EU) level.

The foundations of the new project were outlined at a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, which was hosted by Günther H Oettinger, the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. The main objective is to strengthen Europe’s leadership in connected and automated driving by accelerating the EU-wide deployment of related key technologies.

The industry-led project will focus on use cases and test functionalities in three main areas: automated driving; road safety and traffic efficiency; and the digitalization of transport and logistics. Functions that are being considered include: high density platooning; cooperative collision avoidance; remote control parking; local-hazard warnings; and traffic flow optimization. High definition maps will be updated with a fast connection to the internet on phone or other mobile devices.

The works, which are expected to start in 2017, will include two main phases. A first phase, to run until 2019, will feature tests on available communication technologies, such as LTE (long-term evolution) 4G technology. A second phase, to run until 2021, will be based on both 4G and 5G technologies, bearing in mind that different functionalities have different network requirements.

The project will also look at a series of crucial requirements to ensure that connected and automated driving results in a safer, more efficient and ultimately richer user experience. For this reason, aspects such as safety, cybersecurity and protection of personal data, quality of service and network latency, will be prioritized and addressed during the different use cases and functionalities testing.

The European dimension is one of the goals of the project, and will be run through a consortium of European companies from both the telecoms and the automotive sector. Use cases will be operated across several EU countries and will set the scene for future standardization activities. The consortium, which will be set up later this year, will define the exact scope of the project and start talks with EU and national authorities regarding possible co-financing. More specifically, trials will focus on addressing cross-border challenges, such as the lack of harmonized spectrum, seamless network handover of vehicles at borders, and open road infrastructure data. The trials will build on existing national projects and use their infrastructure where possible.

The main industry associations attending the meeting were: ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association), which represents the 15 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers, including BMW, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel (General Motors), PSA, Renault, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo; CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers); with the telecoms industry represented by ETNO (European Telecommunications Networks Operators’ Association), which has member companies in all countries across the EU; GSMA (Groupe Special Mobile Association), which represents mobile operators; and ECTA (European Competitive Telecommunications Association).

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).