1st European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving (CAD)
Connected and automated cars hold the promise to significantly improve road safety, decrease fuel consumption (and with that, lower emissions), reduce congestion and provide more comfort to passengers.
The European Commission, with the support of the EC-funded projects CARTRE and SCOUT, have hosted the first European conference on connected and automated driving. The high-level conference was held in Brussels on the 3rd and 4th April 2017. Major road transport stakeholders – automotive and telecom industry, users, road operators, public transport operators, regulators, research centres, universities and representatives of both the EC and EU Member States were present. The four main themes at the conference were transport policy issues, technological challenges, legal and regulatory frameworks and digital transformation.
The high-level conference provided a platform for open communication and for two days, EU leaders, CEOs and representatives from major road transport stakeholders discussed interactively on the role of Research & Innovation and policy making to accelerate roll-out in Europe.
The conference focusses on the significant progress made in developing automated road transport technologies, such as advanced vehicle control, vehicle localisation systems, data processing, artificial intelligence or user interfaces, fostered by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: Automated road transport is such a fast-moving and important area that it requires a coordinated and a collaborative approach within and between the public and the private sphere. A vast range of sectors, from the automotive industry and road infrastructure to IT and telecoms, have a role to play in exploring this new frontier. That’s why this first European event is so important. Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport (MOVE) reaffirmed Europe’s worldwide lead affirming that; Europe needs to lead and shape the future of connected and automated driving and collaboration is the keyword for the deployment of connected vehicles.
Plenary panel discussion
During the Plenary panel discussion Roberto Vavassori, President of CLEPA said; we welcome the fact that four DG’s have prepared this conference. Additionally in the last months the automotive and telecommunications industry have worked together to deploy the connected and automated driving applications. President Vavassori also stressed that data is at the core of connected and automated driving and that data will need to be differentiated for effective use and regulation.
Volvo Cars believes governments and car makers should join hands in sharing traffic data in order to improve global traffic safety –Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive.
Research and Innovation Challenges of Connected and Automated Driving
For many years huge Research & Innovation efforts are being invested in developing and demonstrating systems for connected and automated driving. Significant progress has been made in key technologies for innovative connected and automated driving functions and applications (e.g. advanced vehicle control, systems to detect vehicle location and environment, data processing, artificial intelligence, human-machine interaction, etc.). To make the next step towards roll out, large-scale pilots are necessary to test and improve the performance and safety of innovative connected and automated driving systems and to study market potentials and risks. Clara de la Torre, Director, DG Research & Innovation (RTD), Transport Directorate, European Commission said; we must seriously consider autonomous vehicles role in the transport system. Connected and automated driving will address the needs of users in particular and society in general. Dr Carlo JT van de Weijer, Director of Smart Mobility at the Technical University of Eindhoven said; we need to put the human at the centre of connected and automated driving. Dr Weijer demonstrated the challenges for connected and automated using bike traffic in Amsterdam as an example. ‘‘The urban space is the major left over challenge for mobility. Driverless cars, faced with indecisive, distracted humans, may just park and start carrying. Smart mobility is more than just automation.’’ José Manuel Viegas, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (OECD) called Europe to be social ready and for a fair distribution of automated vehicles among EU member states. ‘‘European standers will be crucial for the effective deployment of connected and automated vehicles.’’
The opening speech on the second day of the conference was given by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen. The minister’s core message was for national member states to work together on cross broader testing and trials for self-driving cars. The Minister further stated that regulations should be forward looking and stressed the importance of learning by doing.
This session on the EU Member States programmes on connected and automated driving provided an overview of current policy measures adopted by the European Member States including available funding programmes and support to large-scale testing facilities. The main objective of the session was to support mutual understanding of current initiatives and to discuss alignment between national and EU initiatives and to identify possible areas of cooperation.
Policy and regulatory actions in favour of connected and automated driving are already taking place within the Commission and the Member States. But automated and connected vehicles raise cross-cutting issues (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. The main objective of this Plenary Session was to give an overview of the GEAR 2030 work and discuss the first recommendations for connected and automated driving.
It is now crucial that the European Union provides the right legal and regulatory framework, innovation-friendly conditions and support to research projects as well as large-scale trials, including through Horizon 2020.