Last week, on Thursday 8 December, ERTICO once again invited its Partnership to a FOCUS ON event in Brussels– the first of its kind since the pandemic, and under the leadership of Joost Vantomme, CEO of ERTICO. Following the warm welcome note by Dr Angelos Amditis, ERTICO’s Chairman, DG MOVE’s Head of Unit, Kristian Hedberg, presented a keynote address in which he stressed the need for digitalisation to strengthen the ITS framework to enable seamless, multimodal and sustainable transport widely available in Europe. Even small gains in road transport can lead to hundreds of billions in savings for Europe’s €15 trillion economies. Representatives from three ERTICO Partners, Google Cloud, Huawei and Microsoft, who are also the top three investors in R&D in Europe, and the European Commission, were invited to present insights on the thematic ‘Digital Transformation in the Transport and Mobility Industry throughout the day’. 

The first panel on ‘Digitalising transport in one go’, moderated by Ralf Willenbrock, Product Manager for Logistics and Connected Mobility at T-Systems, brought forward the discussion on open standards. The panellist Jan Ellsberger, Vice President Industry Development at Huawei, Johan Torfs, Industry Executive Critical Infrastructure at Microsoft and Ricardo Munoz Nunez, Transportation Lead EMEA at Google Cloud stressed the importance of mobility data and creating transparency, which will lead to the resilience of the supply chain. Following this intriguing discussion, ERTICO’s Director of Innovation & Deployment, Vladimir Vorotovic, moderated the second panel covering ‘Not business as usual – a different perspective’. The panellist, DG MOVE’s Victoire Champenois, Manfredo Santopinto, Strategic Account Executive at Microsoft, Willem Clappaert, Strategic Business Executive EMEA at Google Cloud and Mr Ellsberger, explored the dichotomy, on the one hand making data more accessible and open while creating business models from data sharing. Ms Champenois gave an update on how the draft Regulation on Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) will tackle this regard.

In the afternoon, participants had the great opportunity to visit some of the ERTICO-facilitated Data Spaces, including ADASIS, SENSORIS, EAVP and TISA. The work taking place within these Data Spaces is contributing to the digitisation of transport by bringing the public and private stakeholders together in the field of ADAS and the electronic horizon, vehicle sensor data uptake to the cloud, traffic communication protocols and standards and business models for Automated Valet Parking, respectively, and agreeing on common standards and specs. The four Data Spaces had the opportunity to present their work and share information on the published standards and protocols with the FOCUS ON participants, who were able to speak to the Data Spaces coordinators and understand their added value for all.

The third and last panel on ‘Abiding to EU Mobility action and impact on users’, moderated Mr Vantomme, focused on the unlocking effects of ITS on National Access Points and their wish to be able to offer interoperable and higher quality dynamic data to their stakeholders. The panellists, Matthias Buchhorn-Roth, Solution Architect at Microsoft and Mr Munoz Nunez, Mr Ellsberger, called for the need for open standards if the full potential of technology as an enabler is to be used, with examples cited from Automated Valet Parking, Waze, Chorus for the transport of goods and the Wing project on Urban Air Mobility, the physical internet for logistics, etc. The impact of COVID and the energy crisis were addressed in terms of the challenges but also the opportunities they bring for business. The common denominator was data spaces and cyber security.

Wrapping up, Mr Vantomme highlighted the reality of “desiloification” where transport and mobility have become a horizontal reality connecting the dots across old and new industries and authorities. He pointed out the areas that still need to be explored in this interesting dialogue among the three ERTICO partners on the panel and the mobility stakeholders, inviting them to continue the discussion at the next ITS European Congress in Lisbon, taking place from 22-24 May 2023. Interoperability among transport modes with open standards and data sharing, communication between vehicles and the grid, the user perspective and user needs will definitely be on the agenda.

The next FOCUS ON event will take place in early 2023, covering the topic of standardisation. Stay tuned for more information!

Access the official Press Release here.