Cooperation is at the heart of innovation and is central to ERTICO’s DNA. As a strong advocate of smart mobility in Europe and beyond, ERTICO’s mission is to expand its activities by fostering cooperation with the international industry community. In particular, ERTICO is keen to develop its collaboration with one of the leading smart mobility markets: China.

In this fourth interview of “Meet the Expert” we speak to ERTICO’s main point of contact with China, Emily Hemmings.

Emily, tell us a little about your background, what is your experience with this country?

“I studied and worked in China for five years, both in Hong Kong and Beijing. The combination of my studies in international relations, my work in project management for sustainable urbanisation projects, as well as the involvement in EU-China trade projects for the European Union turned out to be a perfect fit for ERTICO’s international cooperation strategy.”

What fascinates you about Chinese business culture?

“What I find quite different and interesting is the speed at which development and implementation of new technologies can be achieved in China. The growth achieved by China has been incredible and unprecedented, and from what I saw during my recent business trips for ERTICO, China is at the cutting edge of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). This makes it clear that there are many opportunities for cooperation and exciting projects with the Chinese.”

When you arrived in ERTICO, you became the point of contact for activities with Chinese Partners. Tell us more about ERTICO’s link with China.

“ERTICO have been working with China, facilitating cooperative projects and building partnerships since the early 2000s. Key partners include the C-ITS Industry Alliance under the Ministry of Transport and ITS China under the Ministry of Science and Technology. From what I have seen, the key technical and regulatory issues which are currently being faced in ITS are the same both in China and Europe, so there is a lot to gain by sharing our learnings and knowledge to advance smart mobility. That’s why ERTICO organised back in 2018 its first trip to China with a delegation of Partners to facilitate this knowledge exchange and explore business and cooperation opportunities. For this reason, visiting and learning about China’s pioneering cities and organisations was extremely interesting and helpful, because ERTICO Partners had the chance to witness first hand very impressive demonstrations of autonomous driving, as well as piloting of new technologies.

As an example, at the Shanghai International Automobile City, which is a very important location for the deployment of Connected and Automated Driving, the ERTICO Partners delegation had the chance to gain insight on automated driving and compare the Chinese technologies with those developed in Europe. China can boast of many pioneer cities for smart mobility, such as Nanjing and Shanghai, which have a well-developed electric vehicle charging infrastructure and policy environments which have encouraged uptake. These are excellent best practices which EU stakeholders can learn from.

What it is interesting about ERTICO’s EU-China cooperation is that this covers not only the industrial side, but also the policy one.

ERTICO and its Partnership are currently working with Chinese Partners to develop and test 5G technologies in Jinan, Shandong province, and other cities in China under the 5G MOBIX and 5G Drive projects, and electrification technologies in Nanjing, Jiangsu province under the SOLUTIONSplus project. We are preparing proposals for additional cooperation and twinning projects.

Based on this collaboration, sometime in the future when the time is right we will organise a Delegation visit to take our Partners to China, so they can see the innovative implementations and projects both in tier as well as lower tier cities.

ERTICO’s CEO was recently invited by Mr Wang Xiaojing of the C-ITS Industry Alliance to become the co-chair of the Intelligent Transport Committee of the Belt and Road International Transport Alliance (BRITA). The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the brain child of the current Premier of China Xi Jinping, and it’s all about developing logistics, supply chains, trade routes and infrastructure for international trade across the world, particularly between China, and Europe and Africa. Many European countries have joined BRI, including Italy, Greece and Poland. With ERTICO recently becoming Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of BRITA, we are now in a position to be part of this ongoing investment in infrastructure and involve our Partnership in ITS innovation as part of the BRI.”

The ITS World Congress in 2022 will be hosted by Suzhou in the south-eastern Jiangsu Province of East China. What can we expect?

“We can surely expect a lot of surprises. ERTICO is currently exploring the opportunities to establish a contact between Suzhou, the host of the 2022 ITS World Congress, and the City of Hamburg, host of the 2021 ITS World Congress, to ensure continuity between one World Congress and the other, especially for trials and demonstrations. We can expect to see cutting edge and large scale implementations.  And of course, let us not forget about the technologies that are being developed for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Whilst visiting China in June 2019, ERTICO and AKKA had the chance to meet ERTICO Partner Huawei in Beijing and have a sneak peak of what the company is preparing with Beijing Capital Highways (smart highways and autonomous bus transport are just some of the many surprises!) I think 2022 it’s going to be a great show!”

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