Future of connected and automated driving
Vice President, European Commission’s Energy Union
Is Europe ready for the driverless revolution?
On the ground, Europe’s moving fast. The Swedish Transport Agency has already given the goahead to the first driverless buses in Sweden and Scandinavia. Most EU countries are expecting to see their first driverless buses by 2019. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovic, in charge of Energy Union, at the European Parliament writes about how the European Commission is steering, accelerating, and supporting the emerging European market of autonomous cars
he world is driving fast into a new reality, where ‘mobility’ has a whole new meaning. Driving may no longer be about holding the wheel and watching the road but about sitting back and reading a newspaper, holding a meeting or even playing games. Ownership will not be about buying a car, keeping it for a few years and selling it off but buying access to the sharing economy. It will therefore allow more affordable and accessible services. Today’s kids may never have a driver’s licence; even the concept of ‘car accidents’ might be something they will learn about in their history books. Air pollution, which kills hundreds of thousands of Europeans prematurely every year could sound to them like some medieval epidemic – simply because these problems will have been solved. Not to mention the role of transport in CO2 emissions and climate change, which can finally be pushed to minimum. For all these reasons, connected and automated driving has great potential for our economic prosperity, social cohesion and political stability. www.governmentgazette.eu | 44
This future is not so far. Advanced driver assistance systems already exist (eg, lane keeping assistance or emergency braking). By 2019, we expect to see the first generation of cooperative vehicles. Automated vehicles should be available as mass market products by 2022. Europe is not waiting for other continents to drive this transition; we are making giant leaps in that direction ourselves!Most EU countries are expecting to see their first driverless buses by next year. In Sweden it might even happen earlier, as the Swedish Transport Agency has already given its green light. We are expecting automation to shape the future of all of Europe’s transport modes and could disrupt our entire mobility ecosystem. Of course, major challenges remain, notably with regard to upgrading our communication infrastructure, addressing cybersecurity threats, and answering ethical and legal questions. These challenges require a joint and holistic approach between the various industries, between the private and public sectors, and between European countries. The European Commission is a central actor