Two years to have highways and smart cars in Europe, mission impossible?

by bold-lichterman

The European Commission has just put pressure on car manufacturers to integrate a range of communication technologies into all their new models from 2019.

In a document published on Wednesday, November 30, all new cars put into circulation should exchange data in real time with manufacturers, GPS systems, traffic radars, emergency services and even with other cars…

From 2019, drivers should receive warnings about weather conditions, traffic conditions, road works (or even the closure of a road following a sudden flood problem or a blockage by a tree …), closures night-time sections of the ring road and even warn of the arrival of emergency vehicles.

In a second time, other services must be integrated such as the indication of the nearest service station (especially recharging stations for electric vehicles), the availability of parking spaces in neighboring streets or car parks or the display optimum speed to avoid braking at red lights … not to mention communications between cars.

All of these technologies already exist in certain GPS systems and in certain high-end vehicles, but the Commission wishes to oblige manufacturers to make them standard in all new models, in order to:

  • Reduce traffic problems (time savings)

  • Reduce accidents (26,000 road deaths in Europe in 2015)

  • Better find service stations and charging stations for electric vehicles

  • Reduce consumption (via smoother circulation)

  • Display indicators on the maximum authorized speed

  • Help the driver to get around better (and find parking spaces)

  • Inform the driver of a sudden blockage in the road such as an accident, the presence of a tree, a firefighter intervention…. As the communication is done from car to car, the alert is done in a few seconds without the need to go through relays and GPS satellites.

Telecommunications network side, no problem. In 2008, the European Commission dedicated a specific frequency for communication “between cars” and “between cars and collection points”. It is enough to exploit it fully for the greatest benefit of motorists.

Such a device can only become a success if everyone (from the data provider to the integrator) works hand in hand. To avoid discussions, the Commission has defined a set of rules, standards and protocols to be observed by all.

Regarding the respect for private life, the Commission obliges all data to be anonymized. Very good initiative even if our dear CNIL authority will have new things to watch.

In return, the European executive injects 100 million euros in its Horizon 2020 funding program to help builders develop these systems. Europe has also launched a framework program to eliminate the risk of hacking into such systems by hackers.

My perception as an innovation expert:

Even if the various technological bricks are already present in certain vehicles and on certain highways, and that all our new cars embed electronics, there is still a long way to go to make them general public. Embedding even more electronics by creating all the infrastructures around it represents significant investments but by making them compulsory throughout the European Union, Europe is forcing the democratization of these services for a better driving experience and an increase in safety. .

Communication between cars is now largely underused and this initiative should allow the creation of new very useful and practical services.

In order to fully control the conduct of this complex project, the Commission did a good job by defining rules, protocols and a framework from the start. By forcing all the actors to put themselves in the same technical environment, the project can only move forward.

Our start-ups (Smartcity, IoT, BigData, Webservices, etc.) all need such a harmonized infrastructure to develop and deploy their services in all the countries of the European Union. It’s heavy and that’s what makes this initiative credible.

Some among us may think that these services are not so necessary but we have to agree that the whole is critical for future self-driving cars and by pushing them into the mainstream environment the Commission shows that it is preparing the vehicle of tomorrow through the industrialization of services. It is a large-scale industrial battle that must absolutely be won and we now know that the Commission has put both hands at the wheel of this dossier! Fortunately.

Erik Van Rompay

Combining engineering training at Insead, an entrepreneurial spirit and experiences in France and internationally, Erik Van Rompay is a leading expert on innovation in Europe.

With five years at Walt Disney Imagineering to his credit, he worked on the realization of several industrial projects for Ford Motors, Volvo, Daf Trucks and Rolls Royce, as well as the creation of 5 start-ups. This experience allowed him to master all the issues from the start-up to the large industrial group.

mail: [email protected]

twitter @vanrompay

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