Brussels, 12 March 2018
“Intelligent transport systems and automated driving are fast moving towards widespread commercialization and market acceptance. High levels of automation – the penultimate step to fully automated driving – are expected on the road by 2020 and hold great promise to improve road safety, reduce congestion and emissions, and increase the accessibility”: that is why on 8th March the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) convened the Symposium on the Future Networked Car (FNC-2018) within the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.
The FNC-2018 brought together representatives of vehicle manufacturers, the automotive and information and communication technology (ICT) industries, governments and their regulators to discuss the current status and future of vehicle communications and automated driving. In such a context, Manuel Marsilio – General Manager of CONEBI (Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry) and delegate of the newly founded WBIA (World Bicycle Industry Association) received the invitation to be one of the speakers and present the opinion of the Bicycle Industry with regard to the ongoing policy and regulatory work at both European and international level as well as to give an overview of the work that such a sector is developing worldwide in terms of connectivity.
We know more and more that in the very near future, vehicles will interact directly both with each other and with the road infrastructure. The future of mobility will be electrified, automated and connected: bicycles and electric Bicycles will play a major role in personal mobility, in recreation and in commercial transportation. They will be connected and will represent an important element of the Internet of Things ecosystem. In other words they will become “Smart”. Bikes will foresee monitoring systems for real-time usage & sensor data, and WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and GPRS connections are going to offer the connectivity for the next generation of bikes and e-bike riders. From the security point of view, connectivity will provide users with theft alerts and geofencing while, on the safety side, bicycles will definitely have to communicate with the other vehicles as well as with the road infrastructure: this interaction will allow road users and traffic managers to share information and use it to coordinate their actions. The cooperative element enabled by digital connectivity will significantly improve road safety and traffic efficiency by helping cyclists to take the right decisions and adapt to the traffic situations.
We have great examples of the work that several companies in our sector are doing in that direction: Trek has partnered with Tome and Ford to create an AI-based Bicycle-to-Vehicle communication system to help drivers get alerts to bicycles ahead in dangerous areas of the road, and Bosch has recently established a Division for Connected Mobility Services.
We also know very well that technology development and regulatory frameworks go hand in hand: three months ago, thanks to the valuable contribution of industry experts coming from its national member associations – like RAI Vereniging in the Netherlands and ZIV in Germany (just to name a few) – CONEBI replied to the public consultation by the European Commission on “specifications for Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems”: to go a bit more into details, the 2016 EU Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems foresees the need to amend and supplement the ITS Directive 2010/40/EU for aspects where legal certainty is needed, through the preparation of a delegated regulation on C-ITS. It will be focused on a list of services which are technologically mature, highly beneficial and ready for large scale deployment: we are talking about the legal framework regarding – for example – intersection safety, traffic signal priority and vehicle data.
The automotive industry and the telecommunications sector are leading the technological process towards the future connected and autonomous driving mobility, while contributing to the high-level political and legal decisions that arise around such fascinating topics: CONEBI is definitely committed to be part of those discussions.