“Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we move, making our mobility smarter, more efficient, and also greener”
– that’s what Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport said about the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy published by the European Commission on 10th December 2020. It was timely to set bold goals in the area of mobility and transportation for the upcoming decades. We are five years after the Paris climate agreement and we have to look at all aspects of life to meet the objectives.
The new EU strategy is mainly focusing on zero emission vehicles, high-speed rail networks and micromobility, and C-ITS have tremendous opportunities in many related areas. Those battery electric vehicles will come with 3 million public charging stations planned to be set up by 2030, and V2X will come handy to optimize the load on the grid.
Not all cars are equal at the charging station.
Most of the family vehicles probably run less than an hour per day (more typical in the EU than in the US), only a minority needs the fastest charging possible. Cooperative and communicating vehicles can easily arrange power usage with the infrastructure, based on general preferences, ad-hoc settings or usage patterns analyzed by AI algorithms.
One hundred European cities will be carbon neutral by 2030 according to the strategy, and this is a goal where C-ITS can play an even bigger role. The area of car-free zones will increase, leaving more areas for pedestrians and micromobility services including bicycles, e-scooters and other exotic personal transportation devices. Road usage must be highly optimized to let the traffic flow as safely and fast as possible, and the flexibility offered by V2X will be more than welcome.
Traffic light information, warnings about vulnerable road users in the proximity of the vehicle, dynamic speed limits are all on the V2X menu, giving drivers the confidence in this increasingly complex environment.
Safety goal: zero road fatalities
Some of our partners have different goals with V2X, trying to reduce air pollution and congestion with digital road infrastructure. Just imagine a 15 tonnes heavy truck in front of you in the traffic, as it’s struggling to gain speed after a full stop at the red light. Feel that unpleasant smoke? That same truck could optimize it’s speed for greens, not stopping at all, while other vehicles could easily pass by. It’s a win for everyone.
As the strategy states, we will see automated mobility deployed at a large scale during the next 3 decades. Self driving vehicles should also rely on V2X infrastructure, as they do in our Las Vegas deployment, to see beyond the street corners, perfectly align with traffic lights, so they can travel reliably and safely on public roads shared with older, non self driving cars.
Regardless of the expected high degree of automation this ambitious strategy won’t become a reality automatically. Artificial Intelligence and 5G support the future of transportation, therefore a decent 5G coverage, harmonized and abundant spectrum and legal support for new technologies such as self driving vehicles is a must. A strongly supported pan-European deployment plan along the busiest trade corridors will surely boost C-ITS development, and push the EU towards a smart and sustainable future.