Brussels – November 30, 2016“Profound change lies ahead for the transport sector; both in Europe and in other parts of the world. A wave of technological innovation and disruptive business models has led to a growing demand for new mobility services. At the same time, the sector is responding to the pressing need to make transport safer, more efficient and sustainable. The resulting transformation creates huge social and economic opportunities that Europe must seize now, to reap the benefits for its citizens and businesses” recites the European Commission at the beginning of its recent European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, a milestone towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility.Digital technologies are among the strongest driver and enabler of such a process: nowadays vehicles are already connected devices but in the very near future they will also interact directly with each other and with the road infrastructure. This interaction is the domain of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), which will allow road users and traffic managers to share and use information, as well as to coordinate their actions.
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “My ambition is to see connected and cooperative vehicles on European roads by 2019 and the Strategy is a decisive step in that direction.” There is a risk that, without a framework at European level, EU-wide interoperability will not be achieved on time. This would put European Industry at a disadvantage to its competitors and delay the deployment of C-ITS in Europe, and with it the multiple benefits for transport and society at large. Therefore the Strategy foresees the adoption of an appropriate legal framework at EU level by 2018 to ensure legal certainty for public and private investors – addressing very critical issues including cyber-security and data protection.
The strategy focuses as well on the availability of EU funding for research and development projects on all aspects related to cooperative, connected and automated vehicles, mentioning in this respect the Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon2020, the European Structural and Investment Funds and the European Fund for Strategic Investments.The strategy can be downloaded here http://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/com20160766_en.pdf