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Removing barriers to connected and autonomous vehicles in Europe: agreement on standards and Parliament discusses need for public reassurance

A meeting of the European Union’s transport ministers in Amsterdam organised by the Dutch EU Presidency this month agreed in principle to support the introduction of common traffic rules, communications standards and actions vehicles makers should take to enable self-driving cars to be able to operate across Europe by 2019.

Declaration of Amsterdam - Cooperation in the field of connected and automated driving - 14-15 April 2016 proposes actions to harmonise traffic and transport rules in the 28 EU countries, and for there to be a common digital communication system so cars can communicate with each other and to the required infrastructure.

The ministers also agreed in principle to cooperate on cross-border testing so the systems in vehicles do not need to be updated at each border.  

According to EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, “In cooperation with the European automotive industry, the aim is to be ready for self-driving cars in three years.”

 

Dutch EU Presidency focused on innovation

 

For the first half of 2016 the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which placed Innovation as one of its the main themes for its six month term.

Ahead of the 14 April meeting of European transport ministers, Dutch transport minister Melanie Schultz highlighted self-driving cars as a topic of focus in this theme, highlighting that a lack of good cooperation between EU member states could give rise to a jumble of different rules, thereby preventing the large-scale availability of this new technology.

The presidency said agreements also need to be made on issues like liability, privacy, data security and the effects of self-driving vehicles on traffic and the road network.

‘Ongoing cooperation between governments and industry is key. It would be impractical to have to change the settings on your car every time you cross a border,’ Ms Schultz said.

Another initiative of the Dutch presidency was to encouraging the introduction of truck platooning. For its The Truck Platooning Challenge, trucks made by various manufacturers demonstrated technologies by travelling to Rotterdam from cities including Stockholm, Gothenburg, Stuttgart, Munich and Brussels.

 

Shared Objectives

By agreeing to the Declaration of Amsterdam the 28 UE Transport ministries agreed to support the following objectives:

  • to work towards a coherent European framework for the deployment of interoperable connected and automated driving, which should be available, if possible, by 2019;
  • to bring together developments of connected and automated driving in order to reach their full potential to improve road safety, human health, traffic flows, and to reduce the environmental impact of road transport;
  • to adopt a “learning by experience” approach, including, where possible, cross-border cooperation, sharing and expanding knowledge on connected and automated driving and to develop practical guidelines to ensure interoperability of systems and services;
  • to support further innovation in connected and automated vehicle technologies to strengthen the global market position of European industry; and to ensure data protection and privacy.

Joint Agenda

The ministers agreed to develop and maintain a joint agenda with European stakeholders to support the shared objectives. This agenda should identify deployment paths for connected and automated driving in passenger and freight transport. The agreement stated that the joint agenda should include the following topics:

  1. Coherent international, European and national rules - The aim is to work towards the removal of barriers and to promote legal consistency. The legal framework should offer sufficient flexibility to accommodate innovation, facilitate the introduction of connected and automated vehicles on the market and enable their cross-border use.
  2. Use of data - Data generated through the use of connected and automated vehicles can serve public and private value-added services. Clarification is needed on the availability for public and private use and responsibilities of the parties involved.
  3. Ensure privacy and data protection - Respecting existing legislation on privacy and data protection, the conditions for the (re-)use and sharing of data generated by connected and automated vehicles need to be clarified.
  4. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication - In order to maximise benefits in road safety and environmental performance, it is essential to ensure that new services and systems are compatible and interoperable at European level and to coordinate investments towards reliable communication coverage, exploit the full potential of hybrid communications, where relevant, and improve the performance of location accuracy, benefiting in particular from the use of GALILEO and EGNOS.
  5. Security - In the light of the increase in cyber-threats and serious vulnerabilities, it is essential to ensure security and reliability of connected and automated vehicle communications and systems. Common trust models and certification policies should be developed to prevent risks and support cybersecurity, whilst ensuring safe and interoperable deployment.
  6. Public awareness and acceptance - It is important to manage societal expectations, to raise awareness and increase acceptance and appreciation of connected and automated vehicle technologies.
  7. Common definitions of connected and automated driving - Common definitions of connected and automated driving should be developed and updated, based on the Society of Automotive Engineering levels (SAE levels) as a starting point.
  8. International cooperation - It is important to develop and maintain close cooperation with other regions, particularly the US and Japan, to work towards a global framework and international standards for connected and automated vehicles.

Actions suggested by states, the Commissions and car makers

The ministers also identified actions required from Member States, the European Commission and industry that they considered as required to support the introduction of connected and automated driving and to achieve full potential:

Action By Member States

  • Close cooperation in UN-ECE - An important priority is to ensure that the Vienna and Geneva Conventions on Road Traffic allow the use of connected and automated vehicles on public roads, and to consider a revision of vehicle and traffic safety regulations within this context.
  • Adapting national regulations - Member States should identify and, where possible, remove legal barriers to the testing and deployment of connected and automated vehicles, based on a learning-by- experience approach.
  • Learning by Experience - Member States are encouraged to create possibilities for large-scale cross-border testing of connected and automated driving technologies, based on a common European approach, by:
    • facilitating an exchange of best practices in Member States and between Member States;
    • testing of connected and automated driving technologies in various circumstances, such as cross-border corridors, urban networks and rural settings; and
    • sharing of common principles to enable cross-border testing of connected and automated driving, based on mutual recognition.
  • Informal high-level structural dialogue - Member States are invited to contribute to a high-level structural dialogue on connected and automated driving that:
    • supports, monitors and guides the actions as identified in this Declaration; o discusses national developments and deployment issues;
    • gives recommendations to the European Commission;
    • works with the Commission and industry, including SMEs;
    • facilitates the exchange of best practices between Member States;
    • maintains a strategic overview of existing EU platforms and working groups.

Actions by the European Commission

  1. to develop a shared European strategy on connected and automated driving, based upon the shared objectives of this Declaration, as well as through strengthening the links between existing platforms such as the C-ITS Platform, Gear 2030 and the Round Table on Connected and Automated Driving;
  2. to consider the continuation of the C-ITS platform for the deployment of interoperable C-ITS in the EU and to widen its scope to include infrastructure related aspects, traffic management and road safety for connected and automated driving;
  3. to review, and where necessary, adapt the EU regulatory framework to support the development and use of automated and connected driving, respecting the principle of subsidiarity. A more coordinated approach at EU level should not necessarily result in new rules, but should especially create added value in contributing to a joint learning process;
  4. to develop a coordinated approach towards research and innovation activities in the field of connected and automated driving, within the Energy Union Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy and its Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda, bringing together the work of the EU and of Member States.

Action by Industry

  • to actively participate in developing the European strategy and agenda on connected and automated driving;
  • to identify areas where public policy and regulatory intervention can help lowering barriers to the development and take-up of new technologies;
  • to develop vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems (C-ITS) and continue standardisation work to ensure that new services and systems are interoperable at EU level;
  • to recognise that interoperability and standardisation will be key factors in driving scale, both at the European and international level and support the development of standards in the relevant domains;
  • to discuss with public authorities how connected and automated driving can contribute to the availability of reliable data for public tasks (e.g. traffic management);
  • to participate in large-scale pilot deployment projects to explore the societal benefits of connected and automated driving, thereby increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance;
  • to continue the initiatives taken by the automotive and telecoms industries to identify areas for possible cooperation to support investment in broadband communication and ensure network coverage and reliability;
  • to investigate which performance and safety requirements should apply to mobile communications networks to facilitate connected and automated driving, in conjunction with short-range communications (ITS – G5) to facilitate hybrid communication.

Jaguar Land Rover supports standardisation and harmonisation

Ahead of the agreement, Jaguar Land Rover (among others) stated its support for the plan for the standardisation and harmonisation of autonomous vehicle technology.

In Amsterdam it demonstrated a range of autonomous vehicles to EU Transport Ministers on the streets of Amsterdam when the 28 EU Member States met at the EU Council of Ministers meeting to discuss the legal and technical standardisation and harmonisation relating to the legality of testing, selling and liability associated with autonomous vehicles.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover said, "We are all working on exciting autonomous driving technologies. To successfully deliver these technologies industry needs a common approach between carmakers, mobile telecom providers and providers of roadside infrastructure systems.”

"This will allow standardisation and harmonisation, enabling cars to communicate with each other and the roadside infrastructure around them efficiently and effectively. It allows Jaguar Land Rover to deliver technologies that are relevant, accessible and affordable to customers."

 

Jaguar Land Rover is involved in two projects part funded by the government as a result of the 2015 Innovate UK Connected and Autonomous Vehicles competition:

  • The £5.6 million budget UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) project will set up an advanced test environment for connected and autonomous vehicles on major roads in the Coventry and Solihull area, close to the home of Jaguar Land Rover.
  • The MOVE-UK project will be focused on accelerating the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems. The £5.5 million budgeted project is led by Bosch, with participation of Jaguar Land Rover Limited, TRL, The Floow Limited, Direct Line Insurance, and Royal Borough of Greenwich.

 

Self-Piloted Cars Discussed at European Parliament

The European Parliament’s ‘Think Tank’ - or policy department - has published a study on self-piloted cars that was discussed at the Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee this week.

The provisional study Self-Piloted Cars: The Future of Road Transport? provides a SWOT analysis of the technologies currently available for automated and connected vehicles, and reviews current research projects and large scale testing now underway, including by listings of projects by car manufacturers.

The report concludes that a single roadmap needs to guide the development of connected and highly automated vehicles as most of the potential benefits that can be generated by driverless vehicles strongly depend on the extent to which they can communicate with other vehicles and their operating environment.

The report cites the EU Commission’s GEAR 2030 initiative as a suitable forum for considering this point.

The report was produced by Steer Davies Gleave’s Roberta Frisoni, Andrea Dall’Oglio, Craig Nelson, James Long, Christoph Vollath, Davide Ranghetti, and Sarah McMinimy, and administered by Piero Soave, of the Policy Department: Structural and Cohesion Policies of the European Parliament.

Steer Davies Gleave’s Principal Consultant Roberta Frisoni addressed the EU parliament Transport and Tourism Committee to present an assessment of state of the art developments and future perspectives of self-driving vehicles.

The presentation was part of a hearing to evaluate the latest developments in vehicle automation, Intelligent Transport Systems and pricing.

 

Recommends standardised test procedures, further research on efficiencies and support for automation and telecom sectors

The report suggests a thorough assessment of safety implications of automated systems – including pilot tests and implementations – should be conducted in order to estimate likely effects on traffic accidents’ frequency and severity, and identify potential risks from improper human behaviour.

The report also states there should be standardised test procedures and validation methods – against which the safety performance of automated systems can be measured and assessed (such as measurement procedures for the validation of environment sensor system).

Further research is needed, according to the report, to better quantify effective fuel consumption and emissions reductions provided by different automated and connected systems.

It also suggests that, more precise assessments of capacity increases due to vehicle platooning and Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) systems might be useful for informing planning decisions such as dedicating lanes or specific areas to connected vehicles, rather than building new infrastructure.

The report also suggest that transport and spatial planning authorities should pay attention to these aspects and the EU should encourage a proper assessment due to their relevance for environmental policies and targets.

For the freight and logistic sector the report suggests that driving automation could deliver significant productivity gains; while for the passenger sector, could sustain a shift towards a scenario where more sustainable transport solutions can replace the current car ownership/car usage paradigm.

The think tank then suggests that European, national and local authorities should support and/or coordinate progresses in technology and telecommunication sectors, so in parallel with vehicle automation, it may accelerate the development of new vehicles and ride sharing solutions which have the potential to reduce road transport externalities (e.g. emissions, congestion, space for parking).

 

Infrastrucurte requirements will need to established

Physical and technological infrastructure will ‘play a crucial role in the development of automated and connected driving solutions’, according to the report, and suggests that infrastructure requirements will need to established in order to guarantee that automated and connected systems can safely operate.

Requirements about data and data transmission standards, quality, security and content must also be established in order to guarantee data security and protection, it asserts.

Particular attention must be paid to privacy concerns due to the fact that vehicle automation and connection require the use and analysis of an enormous amount of data. Therefore, it suggests it will be necessary to specify which information will possible to collect (e.g. route, speed, origin and destination of trips), who will own and maintain these data and what use of such data will be allowed (e.g. traffic management) in order to guarantee users’ safeguards and avoid data misuse.

Road users should also be educated to adapt their behaviours accordingly and make best use of the potential benefits of this technology. This could include such measures as vehicle cooperation, allowing for fuel consumption reduction and optimum route choice decreasing travel times.

 

Liability

The report suggests that understanding of responsibility in terms of liability in accidents where automated vehicles are involved “will evolve as these technologies progress”.

The report states that this evolution won’t be “a black and white process”, but that “regulators need to provide clear guidance to allow for the identification of the responsible of the accident and avoid litigation”.

Dilemma situations and other extremes - reassuring stakeholders

The report concludes that way in which automated vehicles should behave in extreme and other ‘dilemma situations’ should be addressed before highly and fully automated systems responsible for all driving tasks and operations are available on public roads.

If the issues are not properly tackled, public acceptance of automated vehicles – and consequently their market penetration – could be put at risk, it says.

Indeed, if stakeholders will not be able to be reassured in a timely fashion about safety and security of automated systems along with ethical, liability and social concerns, a widespread diffusion of these new technologies could be challenged, so underwing possibilities for exploiting the expected potential benefits on road safety, network capacity and emissions reduction.

 

Forthcoming Connected and Autonomous Vehicles initiatives - significant research support to be on offer in UK and Europe

In the UK, Innovate UK’s 2016/2017 delivery plan previews a Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C-CAV) 2016 competition to fund the next round of Government funded research in connected and autonomous vehicles in the summer of this year.

Also, under the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding scheme, around €64 million of funding support is available in 2016 and €50 million next year for calls under the topic of Automated Road Transport.

The first rounds of calls open in September this year, for research in Multi-Brand platooning in real traffic conditions; Full-scale demonstration of urban road transport automation; and ICT infrastructure to enable the transition towards road transport automation.

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