Vehicles that communicate among themselves and with roadside infrastructure: that’s the European Commission (EC)’s vision of a safer and cleaner transport system.
Today the EC adopted a set of rules that they believe will accelerate the deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on European roads.
Many of the new vehicles traversing European roads already have several components that make them connected devices. Yet these vehicles could easily communicate with each other and road infrastructure such as traffic lights and digital signage.
The C-ITS project aims to accelerate the development of these technologies in order to facilitate the roll out of automated transport.
In order to do this the EU needs to first establish investment and regulatory frameworks across the EU; the new rules establish the outline of this legal framework.
Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, Violeta Bulc commented in a release: “This decision gives vehicle manufacturers, road operators and others the long-awaited legal certainty needed to start large-scale deployment of C-ITS services across Europe, while remaining open to new technology and market developments.”
“It will significantly contribute to us achieving our ambitions on road safety, and is an important stepping stone towards connected and automated mobility.”
Intelligent Transport Systems Legal Framework
The new systems will establish the minimal legal requirements for connected systems. “Interoperability will enable all equipped stations to exchange messages with any other station securely in an open network,” the Commission states.
The EU is continually developing and updating roadmaps for the integration of emerging technology into EU infrastructure.
Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) is an area that aims to reduce fatalities on EU roads to Zero by the year 2050. An Intelligent transport system committee identified key questions that need to be address moving forward such as:
What do we want to test, which use case are most promising or beneficial from a public / societal point of view?
Which are the building blocks of CCAM that deserve our focus? Which functionalities need to be developed and which are the most relevant technical and non-technical enablers?
How do we ensure all relevant data and knowledge is shared between tests and projects to accelerate development?
How do we measure and compare the impact of the solutions developed in different test sites? Which elements need cross-border cooperation or EU-wide solutions?
Also proposed by the EU is that any new vehicles manufacture should be equipped with advanced safety systems such as intelligent speed assistance, emergency braking and enhanced pedestrian and cyclist protection.
GSMA Blasts Wi-Fi Plans
Yet the plans were immediately criticised by the GSMA – an industry body for network operators that includes over 800 mobile operators as full members – for the proposed choice of network standard to connect vehicles.
“The Commission has chosen to ignore technological innovation and choice, and instead stick with an outdated wi-fi (802.11p) technology for connected vehicles” the GSMA said.
“The GSMA urges EU Member States and the European Parliament to reject the proposed rules that favour wi-fi technology to connect cars across Europe, and instead maintain flexibility to encourage the deployment of more advanced technologies, like Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) connectivity.”
The industry body added: “The EU’s 5G Action Plan calls for all ‘major terrestrial transport paths [to] have uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025.’
“[Yet] rather than incentivising this outcome, the new legislation deals a blow to 5G rollout plans across Europe. As C-V2X is a key building block for future 5G networks, and as connected cars are one of the most important 5G use cases, this decision to prioritise 802.11p will hinder 5G deployment in Europe.”
The GSMA said C-V2X provides more security, range and quality of service than 802.11p.
“It is, therefore, no surprise that C-V2X is quickly becoming the worldwide standard for communication between vehicles and with roadside infrastructure. In fact, North America and China are already moving forward with C-V2X, which will allow them to move to connected driving more quickly, cheaply and safely than Europe.”