05 April, 2019

Connected and Automated Driving in Europe: Lead or Lose?

Brussels, 8 April 2019 – Europe is about to take a crucial decision on connected and automated driving. Members of the European Parliament and Member States have an important say, this week, on the Delegated Regulation on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS).

This Delegated Regulation is about two crucial aspects for Europe: first, it is about ensuring that driving is made safer and that our citizens enjoy fully reliable technologies. Second, it is meant to create the basis for the industrial leadership of our automotive sector, which is so crucial to the growth and sustainability of European economies.

Unfortunately, it appears that the current proposal on the table departs from the overarching principle of technology neutrality. Currently, it favours an old technology – the wifi standard 802.11p – as the only mandated solution for connected and automated driving in the EU and it excludes other mature technologies. These are our reasons for believing the Delegated Regulation would be bad for Europe:

1. Europe needs to stay ahead in the global competition for the future of automotive business models. If we mandate only an older technology like wifi 802.11p and exclude a future-proof one like 5G, we put Europe behind global peers like the US, South Korea and China.

2. Engineers and experts – not regulation – are best placed to choose the most innovative and safest technology, especially in the context of a fast-moving world. Just last week, global leaders Audi, Ericsson and Qualcomm demonstrated that mobile-based technology is ready and tested across European borders.

3. Both older wifi 802.11p technologies and technologies under development, like 5G, are designed to put safety first. The automotive and telecoms sector have a long and reliable track record on safety.

4. The current solutions to ensure “compatibility and interoperability” of 5G with wifi would continue favouring one technology over the others, and distort competition. We agree with those who believe the review clause is not sufficient to ensure the Delegated Regulation is technology neutral.

Our industry has consistently made these points throughout the process. We regret they were not taken into account. For this reason, we believe that Members of the European Parliament and Member States now have a unique opportunity to make this right. We must ensure that Europe’s automotive sector has the option of embracing also future-oriented technologies like 5G, if it wishes. Being stuck on the slow lane cannot be an option in today’s global markets.

Alessandro Gropelli
Deputy Director General - Strategy & Communications

Alessandro Gropelli is Deputy Director General of ETNO, the European Telecoms Association, as well as a Board member and Treasurer of GeSI, the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative. At ETNO, Ales

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