Thierry Van der Pyl Director for Components and Systems at the Directorate-General Information Society and Media talks to the ERTICO eNewsletter about innovation in ITS and the European Commission’s Green Car initiative.

The ITS community spent billions of Euros on ITS research. Why is market introduction of these systems so slow?

Thierry Van der Pyl: Regarding In-vehicle systems and advanced driver assistance systems we are beyond the research stage. Many of these systems are ready for market introduction. We now have to ensure rapid uptake of these systems across the European market.

The European Commission is doing its share to facilitate this process as deployment and regulatory actions go hand in hand. In these areas the Commission services work together. In particular I would like to stress the EC decision from August 2008 on spectrum allocation which is a key precondition for the deployment of ITS applications and services. Now cars and infrastructure can “talk” to each other via their own dedicated communication channel.

I would also like to point out the support from the Commission to awareness campaigns which contribute to increase the demand of these systems like the one carried out by eSafety Aware on ESC which has produced good results.

What is the current situation regarding eCall?

TVdP: Technologies which can bring immediate benefits are ESC and eCall and we should see how they can be quickly deployed. The use of new technologies will help to bring down fatalities but they need to be introduced in combination with other road safety measures.

eCall has made significant progress over the last two years. Industry has worked hard and as a result standardisation is now close to completion. The major stakeholders are coordinating their implementation plans in the framework of the recently created European eCall Implementation Platform. However difficulties still exist towards the fulfillment of the roadmap objectives. Member States have an important role to play for example when it comes to implementing the single emergency number across all of Europe in an effective way. We are a good way towards full deployment but we would like to see further progress in this direction.

eCall is not the only safety-related initiative. Over the last years these initiatives have been very successful in bringing road safety forward. One example is the Intelligent Car Initiative which kicked off in 2006. Our main focus is on cooperative mobility systems and advanced driver assistance systems which we support through research & development programmes but also when it comes to deployment through Field Operational Tests projects.

In times of economic downturn can we still afford to work on road safety and emission reduction from vehicles?

TVdP: In the current economic situation the future of the industry especially the automotive industry is a key concern. The Commission has already reacted in the form of the Recovery Plan presented in November 2008 which contains the Green Car Initiative.

The Green Car will drive European innovation in the automotive sector. The European Commission proposed the European Green Car Initiative to help maintain the competitiveness of the European automotive sector as well as to tackle climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. This €5 billion initiative includes a financial envelope of about €1 billion for R&D half of which would come from Community research funds through FP7 and the rest from contribution of Member States and industry. The aim is to facilitate research on a broad range of technologies for road transport in order to achieve a breakthrough in the use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources. What I would like to emphasise is that in this difficult economic environment the European Commission’s will remain unchanged with strong support for reducing the number of road fatalities and reducing the environmental impact of road transport.

In addition the Commission will soon launch a €500 m Call for Proposals for Trans-European Transport Network projects. This will give a major push to the deployment of ITS services in the Member States.

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Original Publication Date: Sat 24 Jul 2010