EU launches policy to facilitate cross-border testing of connected and autonomous cars

28 March 2017

28 March 2017

On the event of the EU’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the EU-27 member states plus EEA members Norway and Switzerland have signed a letter of intent for the foundation of a legal framework to facilitate cross-border travel of connected and autonomous vehicles. This involves cross-border tests of the technology as well as the 5G network to support it, and is part of the EU’s strategy to create a Digital Single Market for Europe.

This harmonisation of standards, liability and data sharing will help avoid connected and autonomous vehicles having to stop at borders – helping to protect the EU’s four freedoms including the free flow of people and trade.

Connectivity and autonomous cross-border testing in real traffic conditions was strengthened last year with the foundation of the auto-and-telecoms partnership, the European Automotive Telecoms Alliance (EATA), and the EU hopes these auto cross-border trials will thus also contribute to the development of the new 5G technology – key for data-hungry connected vehicles. The EU’s goal is that by 2025, all urban areas as well as major roads and railways across Europe will have uninterrupted 5G coverage.

Plans ′in the next months’ will see member states and the Commission jointly identifying steps towards the testing and large scale demonstrations of connected and autonomous mobility (CAM) projects.

′Mobility has to work across borders,’ stressed both Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, and GÜnther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Human Resources and Budget.

Signing member states will work together on creating cross-border corridors to conduct and facilitate research, tests and large scale demonstrations. These will span areas including road safety, data access (a topic of current concern), data quality and liability, connectivity and on digital technologies for CAM. They will also support the availability of the necessary radio spectrum resources to support this.

Earlier this year, France and Germany agreed to build a cross-border corridor between the two neighbouring regions of Lorraine and Saarland to test connected and automated driving. This is a first step to be expanded and followed by other member states and regions. The Commission is also working with Member States to link different test-sections, to enable cross-border testing and align them with the existing TEN-T corridors.