The CONCORDA (Connected Corridor for Driving Automation) project was kicked off on 20 November in Brussels. CONCORDA is a 33-month project, estimated at 20 million euro and with a timeline from 1 October 2017 until 30 June 2020. The project consortium includes 26 international partners from 5 Member States. The project is funded under a Grant Agreement from CEF (Connected Europe Facility) and INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency), under the powers delegated by the European Commission.

The kick-off meeting was hosted by ERTICO – ITS Europe and opened with a keynote address from Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of ERTICO – ITS Europe, followed by contributions from Johanna Tzanidaki and Eusebiu Catana (both from ERTICO – ITS Europe), who expressed their satisfaction in meeting the project partners and provided a general overview of the project and its objectives.

CONCORDA is organised in 6 main activities, with 34 milestones. The main objectives are the following:

  • Assess the performance of hybrid communication systems in terms of reliability and availability
  • Improve localisation services
  • Contribute to a new standard of evaluation of the existing standards such as ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems)
  • Contribute to interoperability and continuity of services: the specifications (new or evolved standards) will be applied on all test sites according to the C-ITS Platform recommendations in order to guarantee the interoperability and continuity of services piloted in the CONCORDA project aiming at EU-wide interoperability of services.
  • Cooperation with the European Commission, C-ROADS (a joint initiative of European Member States and road operators for testing and implementing C-ITS services in light of cross-border harmonisation and interoperability), SENSORIS (Sensor Ingestion Integration Specification), EATA (European Automotive Telecom Alliance), CEDR (Conference of European Directors of Roads), 5GAA (5G Automotive Alliance – 5th generation mobile networks) and NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Network).

In particular, CONCORDA will respect all C-ITS services deployed within the C-Roads initiative and will ensure that newly deployed C-ITS services or C-ITS services using new communication systems (e.g. LTE-V2X) and will not affect existing services in terms of interferences and interoperability, will contribute to the preparation of the European motorways for automated driving and high density truck platooning with adequate connected services and technologies.

Eusebiu Catana also highlighted the key technical elements of the project – hybrid communications, localisation services, standards, interoperability and cooperation with other platforms, such as C-Roads. CONCORDA will contribute to the preparation of European motorways for automated driving and high density truck platooning with adequate connected services and technologies. The main objective of the project is to assess the performance (reliability/availability) of hybrid communication systems combining 802.11p and LTE under real traffic situations.

Later, Edwin Fischer from Deutsche Telekom gave an overview and set the objectives of the first three CONCORDA activities, namely (1) the pilot roll-out preparation, (2) technology integration, and (3) pilot operation. Activity 3 – pilot operation –will involve the Member States test sites (5 in total, 1 per country). The CONCORDA pilot sites will be in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and France, each of which was also presented at the Kick-Off meeting.

Activity 4 – pilot evaluation – was introduced  by Evangelos Sdongos, from ICCS, while activity 5 – parallel studies and best practices – was explained by Eric Kenis, from MoW.

The final activity – project management & communication – was presented by Maria Afsar, and Zane Mezdreija. ERTICO – ITS Europe will take the lead on this activity.  A set of follow-up actions were  identified for this activity at the meeting:  organising technical workshops, cooperating with Associate partners, completing the list of partners involved in the activity, planning of tasks and cooperation and contributing to delivering the milestones.

CONCORDA has been a project initiated by EATA, the European Alliance of Telecoms and Automotive and although many of the EATA members decided not to take part in the EU project proposal of CONCORDA (they are Associate partners to the project), they remain interested to allign their work and testing in this field, with that of the partners working under the direct obligations of the CONCORDA Grant Agreement (the beneficiaries). ERTICO, as Project |Managers of CONCORDA will be responsible in ensuring the smooth cooperation between the CONCORDA Beneficiaries and the Associate members towards the aim as this is stated in the Grant Agreement of CONCORDA.