The future of mobility. New technological trends. Sharing scientific knowledge to build intelligent mobility. These topics were covered in a conversation with Joost Vantomme, CEO of ERTICO, a 32-year-old organisation dedicated to deploying smart and sustainable mobility services. Over the last two decades, ERTICO has managed dozens of European projects. Ubiwhere is one of ERTICO’s technological partners, with which it establishes cooperative relationships for creating and developing mobility projects and solutions worldwide.
Nailing it down, we continue our journey in this interview that will take us to a destination of innovation and confidence in a better future. As part of European Mobility Week, Ubiwhere interviews Joost Vantomme for a conversation about the future of mobility, its main challenges and how Ubiwhere can contribute to developing digital solutions for mobility in cities.
Ubiwhere: What is ERTICO, and what does it aim to be?
Joost Vantomme: ERTICO-ITS Europe is a unique European-based public-private partnership organisation, connecting 125 members from eight sectors across the broader ITS Community. The diversity of the ERTICO Partnership demonstrates our unique position of bringing together service providers, the traffic and transport industry, research institutions and universities, public authorities, user organisations, the connectivity industry, and vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
Connecting the dots is a key motto, and we share the joint vision with our Partners to bring innovation and intelligence into mobility towards safer, more efficient, and sustainable solutions. Innovation is at the very heart of ERTICO.
We develop, promote, and facilitate the deployment of intelligent mobility services by providing a multi-stakeholder platform for action. This allows us to strengthen our thought leadership role and foster stakeholder engagement with our Partners through European co-funded projects, innovation platforms, and the yearly celebration of ITS and Smart Mobility at the ITS Congresses. Our Focus Areas are CCAM (Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility), Clean & Eco-Mobility, Urban Mobility and Transport & Logistics. Together, we lead the digital transformation of transport by developing cutting-edge technologies, new services and innovative mobility solutions to move people and goods smarter. We help shape the way forward through a holistic approach, enabling ITS voices to be heard by institutions and policymakers. We work closely with our ITS America and ITS Asia-Pacific colleagues, resulting in global advocacy and joint progress on smart and sustainable mobility.
UW: How does ERTICO see the future of mobility?
JV: Transport and mobility are now a horizontal layer with ITS technology as the common denominator. As a thought leader, we facilitate, deploy and develop cooperative partnership projects to deliver positive impacts for the future of mobility. This includes scaling up and deploying cross-cutting technologies and co-creating cleaner, safer and more sustainable systems and services.
With a finger on the pulse, we closely monitor ongoing regulatory policies related to green mobility, sustainability and smart mobility, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, mobility data spaces, the urban mobility framework, the various initiatives on data sharing through the ITS Directive and the deployment of connectivity solutions through the short-range and long-range cellular networks, to mention a few.
New alliances and cooperations across the horizontal layers of the smart mobility landscape are also key in driving future innovation. In the upcoming period, into the potential of clean and urban mobility and delivering cross-border 5G technologies with showcases in transport and logistics. We also displayed the possibilities of a data-driven economy with data sharing through various platforms hosted by ERTICO.
UW: Can we say we are walking towards a future of connected and autonomous mobility? In your opinion, what are the challenges this sector faces?
JV: Connected, Cooperative & Automated Mobility (CCAM) is an important contributor to decarbonisation and reducing congestion. To this end, ERTICO is working with Member States and public authorities, for whom improving the overall mobility systems is a priority, to integrate and demonstrate that:
CCAM is within a mix of mobility approaches, from electrification to the circular economy. CCAM also continues to benefit from the expanding deployment of 5G and the emergence of 6G.
Technologies and services will converge towards a hybrid approach in which short-range and long-range communications offer further developments for CCAM and higher levels of automation. Data privacy and security are other key enablers for transitioning from individual legacy vehicles to CCAM services. Such services will contribute to the decarbonisation and increased safety of the transport sector for both passengers and logistics in line with targets from the European Commission, including the Green Deal and Vision Zero.
UW: What is ERTICO’s strategy to position itself and its members in a pivotal position in these topics?
JV: Cooperation for pre-competitive research and innovation is key to achieving CCAM-related policy goals. For example, ERTICO is a founding member of the CCAM Partnership under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, which aims to better align R&I efforts in the EU and to speed up the deployment of CCAM systems and services for passengers and goods. One of our cornerstone projects, 5G-MOBIX, which ended in late 2022, tackled the issue of cross-border connectivity, highlighting advanced 5G CCAM use cases and new business opportunities.
Successful deployment of CCAM relies heavily on robust and resilient infrastructures that can serve the connectivity needs. Some of the leading projects in this field are PoDIUM, working on a reference architecture for the physical and digital infrastructure (PDI) required for CCAM; IN2CCAM, together with Ubiwhere, focusing on enhancing the integration and interoperability of the CCAM ecosystem; ARCADE, which released the EU-wide Knowledge Base including the first European map of CCAM demonstrations and testing activities; FAME, a new ERTICO-led project which seeks to establish a stakeholder validated European framework for testing CCAM on public roads including a common evaluation methodology; SUNRISE which will develop and demonstrate a common Safety Assurance Framework for CCAM following the HEADSTART project which defined testing and validation procedures.
We are also actively developing the Mobility Data Space. By contributing to the first phase of the PrepDSpace4Mobility Coordination Support Action, our joint vision is to establish the basis for collecting and sharing mobility data across Europe securely and controlled. We also have a leading role in several other initiatives for the enhancement and exchange of mobility data: Data for Road Safety (DFRS) deals with data sharing to anticipate hazards and reduce fatalities; NAPCORE focuses on coordinating and harmonising all European National Access Points (NAPs) for mobility data interoperability and access through common standards. The ERTICO managed Innovation Platforms such as ADASIS (map-enhanced driver assistance) and SENSORIS (global standardised interface to share information between in-vehicle sensors and the cloud) also play a central role in determining the quality and interoperability of mobility data to be shared. Furthermore, traffic management and wider mobility network management is the cornerstone of our TM 2.0 platform.
UW: How do you see the contributions technological SMEs, such as Ubiwhere, can bring to help achieve this future?
JV: ERTICO allows SMEs to engage and share knowledge of its consolidated network of Partners. Creating exposure and taking opportunities with private and public stakeholders in the ERTICO Partnership supports SMEs’ preparations for EU-funded project proposals but also liaises with established brands in the automotive and smart mobility sector. We are very pleased to count Ubiwhere in our family. This high-tech company is a true incubator and scales up research and deployment of smart and sustainable tech solutions for smart cities, telecom and, more broadly, the Internet of Things – a welcomed asset for ERTICO’s partnership.
The recent successful ITS European Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, in May 2023 showcased great results of our joint work in the home country of Ubiwhere.
UW: Thank you, Joost! It is an honour to work alongside ERTICO on this mission of building something unique and innovative for urban mobility.
What an interesting conversation about the future of mobility, the various projects under development and the importance of partnerships to build a better future for smart cities! ERTICO and Ubiwhere are working together in this direction, so we’ve decided to interview Joost Vantomme during European Mobility Week. If you want to visit ERTICO’s website, click here and access the Newsroom to find out the latest news on the research carried out with partners.