During the Pilot site event, held in Livorno on 19 October, François Fischer from ERTICO answered a few questions for the web-magazine “Port News”, by the Authority of the Northern Tyrrhenian Port System.

Below is the transcript in English of this interview; the original version in Italian can be found in the news section under “Italian press” category.

Q:  Mr. Fischer, you work for a big and influencing PPP involved in coordinating ITS deployment at EU level, what are the major challenges related to ICT innovations we have to tackle with?

A: In recent years we have been seeing digitization at an accelerated pace in various sectors including transport and mobility. This is bound to cause disruption in governance and business models. For instance, mobility is no longer solely the domain of car manufacturers and there are more and more new public/private partnerships being forged to provide safer, cleaner and more efficient mobility. These call for good standardisation measures across various industries (telecom, automotive) but also across European and global boundaries.

Technical innovations are moving very quickly but sometimes regulation, etc. does not keep pace. Technology and legislation must keep pace to ensure societal benefits.

Q: How do you imagine the future of mobility for European citizens?

A: European citizens have been making their voices heard in demanding safer, cleaner and more sustainable transportation. They also want a democratisation of mobility so that these solutions are affordable and accessible to all – both in urban and rural areas. The EU has set itself the goal of zero fatalities by 2050 and wants to halve the number of fatalities by 2020.

The downward trend of individual vehicle ownership seems irreversible and car-sharing and the use of smarter and more efficient public transport will see an increase. Mobility will no longer be about owning a vehicle and getting from one place to another but rather Mobility-as-a-Service will be widely adopted.

Connected and Autonomous driving with integrated mobility across different modes will be able to deliver on many of these goals in the near future.

Q: What kind of support or initiatives do you expect from the member representatives in your institution?

A: We want action in terms of regulation and good policies that promote technical innovation. We look for help from city authorities to encourage pilot testing and upscaling to real-world scenarios. This would go a long way in raising awareness among the public and private local stakeholders about, for instance, the potential of autonomous driving and the internet of things in creating valuable mobility results. This will facilitate the participation of SMEs and industries in these domains and advance the digital transformation.

Q: What is your experience with the Port of Livorno (especially in AUTOPILOT but also considering Corealis and TM2.0)? How can our partnership be beneficial for the digital agenda of Europe and for the sustainable growth of our port system?

A: Port of Livorno features a comprehensive agenda targeting to the sustainable growth of the port itself, its hinterland towards the Trans-European-Network corridors, notably the Scandinavian-Mediterranean. We are partners in projects related to the implementation of new mobility (with autonomous driving as in AUTOPILOT) and effective integration among Traffic Control Centers (as in the TM2.0 initiative). Livorno also has a remarkable role for the R&D on the new generation of mobile networks, the so called 5G, as in the scope of the COREALIS project.

The Port of Livorno has been at the forefront of enabling technical innovation, related not only to waterways but also to road transport. Our working together with the Port Authority of Livorno on these projects is mutually beneficial. As I mentioned that the future of mobility is in integrated solutions and Livorno is leading the way.

Q: I know you will be attending the AUTOPILOT week in Livorno and will be a distinguished speaker at the public event on Oct. 19th. What are we going to see at the maritime terminal in the demo session?

A: We will see how these technologies can enhance the safety of passengers in the maritime terminal area. We will also have a look at the highway (the one you call FiPiLi) to demonstrate how accidents can be reduced in the zone of road works and in presence of potential hazards.

The Autopilot event was widely covered by Italian media. Click here to read more about this event and to watch news reports.