NEWS - 2023/05/05

EUCAD2023: Driving Towards Sustainable and Connected Mobility

On May 3rd and 4th 2023 the 4th European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving (EUCAD2023) was organised in Brussels by the European Commission, the European Partnership on Connected, Cooperative, and Automated Mobility (CCAM), and the FAME project. The conference is aligned with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, seeking to leverage transport digitalisation to achieve climate-neutral objectives and make transport smarter, safer, and more sustainable. The event was developed to foster the collaboration between the European Union and the main automotive makers, invited to the occasion.

The core theme of the conference was the discussion regarding whether our societies are ready for the deployment of smart, inclusive, and sustainable mobility solutions, particularly focusing on CCAM. With an increasing focus on sustainable development, innovative solutions are gaining importance. CCAM solutions are expected to offer affordable, user-oriented, and inclusive shared mobility concepts for passengers and goods, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of transport and overcoming the present challenges in the industry.

Connected and automated mobility faces many challenges. New cars now offer enhanced driving experiences with features such as automatic lane-keeping and changing, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking. Some cars are even equipped with autonomous driving features. However, there are still regulatory obstacles to overcome before level 5 autonomy can be fully deployed. Car manufacturers may need to collaborate with tech companies to master autonomous driving, which could lead to a profitable deployment of autonomous cars in the industry.

Europe needs to strengthen its collaborations to lead this transition. If we look at the current initiatives in Europe towards an improved transport system, the Hi-Drive project must be highlighted. It is an EU-funded initiative coordinated by Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and developed in collaboration with the main car automakers in Europe. This project aims to push automated driving towards high automation by developing more robust and reliable intelligent vehicle technologies for challenging conditions and scenarios not extensively tested before. The project addresses key challenges hindering progress in vehicle automation and aims to extend the operational design domain, reducing the need for human driver interventions.

EUCAD 2023 had multiple objectives. These include: taking stock of the latest research, policy, and regulatory developments in the field of CCAM; showcasing European projects and recent research and innovation results to support the market uptake of CCAM solutions; and providing a platform for major road transport stakeholders to participate in active debates and identify challenges, needs, and synergies towards the deployment of CCAM. EUCAD also showcased a selection of CCAM projects funded by the European Commission and a display of vehicles with different technologies, some of them with connectivity features and some of them autonomous. These vehicles have been developed as part of different projects, including Hi-Drive.

As a part of the conference, breakout sessions were organised, where speakers presented their ideas and thoughts on different topics related to CCAM. Among them, the session “Effect of CCAM on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability of Road Transport” discussed the impact of CCAM on energy efficiency and sustainability of road transport and how it can contribute to a more sustainable transport sector.

Dr. Laia Pagès, Executive and Scientific Manager at CARNET, participated in this roundtable session, which discussed in detail the impact of in-vehicle technology innovations such as AI and computing on energy efficiency, and how automation and electrification can contribute to achieving net-zero objectives. The session also provided details about better-linking transport and energy infrastructure, which can also improve energy optimization.

The conference offered an excellent opportunity for participants to network, engage in discussions, and collaborate towards achieving the common goal of sustainable mobility solutions. With the involvement of the European Comission, political leaders, industry experts, and academia, the conference is expected to generate valuable insights and drive discussions towards the development of innovative and sustainable transport solutions linked to CCAM.  Through the exchange of ideas, best practices, and valuable insights, the conference is poised to drive the advancement of sustainable mobility, shaping the industry’s future trajectory.