Last modified on February 12, 2024

Why does Europe need a clear framework for testing CCAM in real life?

9 February 2024

Testing new mobility solutions in Europe presents a formidable challenge, with cooperative, connected, and automated mobility (CCAM) showcasing the complexities. In comparison to other continents, Europe boasts an intricate web of legislation, procedures, and standards. Consequently, the deployment of disruptive technologies on European roads requires meticulous adherence to numerous prerequisites. On one hand, the European Union (EU) is actively funding various research and innovation projects, such as Horizon. On the other hand, these initiatives encounter hurdles when attempting to experiment with CCAM solutions.

As highlighted by Dr Carolin Zachaus from VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, extensive research is underway concerning safety, user acceptance, and inclusiveness in CCAM. While promising benefits are beginning to surface, it is evident that there is a pressing need to validate these solutions in real-world scenarios and ascertain their efficacy. With most European countries now compelled to meet climate objectives outlined in the EU Green Deal, policymakers are exploring how CCAM can contribute to achieving climate neutrality in Europe by 2050.

On the passenger side of CCAM, considerable optimism surrounds the use of automated vehicles as feeders to public transport (first/last mile) and automated on-demand shuttles. In the logistics sector, industry stakeholders are pinning their hopes on automated urban delivery solutions and automated hub-to-hub transport. However, the environmental impact of these innovations cannot be confirmed without access to reliable data emanating from pilot programs.

Each European country has its distinct approach to dealing with automated vehicles. For instance, France and Germany permit Level 3 and Level 4 automated vehicles in regular service. The Connected Automated Driving Europe (EUCAD) portal vividly illustrates this diverse regulatory landscape, revealing that the roles of different authorities involved in the approval process at the national level lack harmonization.

Clarisse de Cerjat, Project Coordinator at Eurocities

City authorities are frequently overlooked in testing processes, yet they can play a pivotal role in facilitating CCAM deployment in urban areas. Cities provide the essential testing ground for real-life operations in complex conditions, such as mixed traffic during peak hours or interactions with vulnerable road users like cyclists. Moreover, they play a crucial role in ensuring that pilots align with the sustainable urban mobility plans of the city and can collaboratively create use cases to meet residents’ needs.

It is essential to emphasize that the primary concern lies not in the existence of these procedures and safety criteria, but rather in the testing process itself. Citizens should not bear the costs of experiments and crashes. The key question revolves around identifying gaps in the testing process and determining how to establish a secure testing environment for CCAM in Europe.

In the context of FAME, a policy brief targeting decision-makers at EU, national, and local levels has been published and is accessible here. The consortium is actively working on an updated version that will provide policy recommendations for testing large-scale deployment of CCAM solutions.

Written by Clarisse de Cerjat, Project Coordinator at Eurocities