The European Commission (EC) has adopted a European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS); a milestone towards the widespread use of cooperative, connected and automated mobility.
The new EC Strategy will allow the deployment of vehicles that can communicate with each other (V2V) and to the surrounding infrastructure (V2I) on European Union roads from 2019. Digital connectivity is expected to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency, and the comfort of driving, while boosting the market of cooperative, connected and automated driving, and the related creation of jobs. The Strategy therefore delivers on the Commission’s political priorities, notably its Agenda for Jobs, Growth and Investment, the Digital Single Market, and the Energy Union Strategy. The main elements of the C-ITS Strategy are:
Avoid a fragmented internal market; Define and support common priorities; Use a mix of communication technologies; Address security and data protection issues; Develop the right legal framework; Cooperate at international level.
The Strategy foresees the adoption of the appropriate legal framework at EU level by 2018, in order to ensure legal certainty for public and private investors. It also addresses the availability of EU funding for research and development projects and international cooperation, such as at the G7 level, on all aspects related to cooperative, connected and automated vehicles. The C-ITS also involves continuous coordination, in a ‘learning-by-doing’ approach, with the C-ROADS platform, which gathers real-life deployment projects in Member States. With the help of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), projects in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and UK, have received funding.
EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, said, “My ambition is to see connected and cooperative vehicles on European roads by 2019, and the Strategy we adopted today is a decisive step in that direction. It will create the necessary conditions for vehicles to communicate with each other and with the infrastructure. This will make our roads safer and reduce energy consumption. In the long-run, it will also help integrate automated vehicles into the transport system.”
Lars Reger, CTO of the automotive division at NXP Semiconductors, a leading developer of connected and autonomous systems, commented, “The European Union’s decision to include a dedicated automotive wireless communication protocol in its newly decided ITS Masterplan is the right choice at the right time. It reflects NXP’s findings after 10 years of research and V2X field-testing: only a dedicated automotive wireless communication (802.11p) protocol can cover safety critical use cases, such as platooning and emergency braking. These and other types of autonomous decisions require extremely fast communications (low latencies) that cellular networks cannot achieve currently. Cellular networks still need further research, standardization, field-testing, and full network coverage. This EU decision sets the cornerstone for very important choices related to the European ‘Strategy on vehicles of the future’, to be defined in 2017.”