New connected car standards put Europe into top gear

Imagine that you are driving along, and a message is projected on your windscreen, warning you of an accident that has just happened around the next corner. This could soon be a reality thanks to new European standards. Connected cars, able to communicate with each other and with road infrastructures, are expected to appear on European roads in 2015.

Two European standards organisations, ETSI and CEN, confirmed today that the basic set of standards requested by the European Commission to make connected cars a reality has been fully completed. The norms which they have adopted ensure that vehicles made by different manufacturers can communicate with each other. The EU invested more than €180 million in research projects on cooperative transport systems, whose results helped develop the standards. This will put the European car industry, which provides 13 million jobs, out in front in the race to develop the next generation of cars.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, welcomed this important step:

“With this set of standards ready, connected cars are on the right track. Direct communication between vehicles and infrastructures will ensure safer and more efficient traffic flows, with great benefits for drivers & pedestrians, our environment and our economy. This shows Europe’s unique digital advantage. But for connected cars to really work, we also need more consistency in rules that underpin fast broadband networks. Our fragmented spectrum policy puts the brakes on our economy – now it’s time to get our connected continent up to cruising speed”

Intelligent transport has been a priority of the EU research and innovation programmes. EU-funded research projects have played a major role in the development of the standards, with more than €180 million invested in some 40 different projects working on cooperative systems since 2002. These projects provided their results to ETSI and CEN/ISO, which in turn used them to develop the standards. The EU also funded different operational tests and pilots, as well as standardisation project teams.

Work on the Release 2 standardisation package has already begun to fine tune existing standards and deal with more complex use cases. European organisations cooperate closely with American and Japanese organisations to ensure that the systems are compatible across the globe.


Connected cars can make our lives more convenient, our journeys greener and our roads safer. With more than 200 million vehicles on European roads today, they also represent a significant market for European companies. But connected cars cannot be developed without common technical requirements regarding, for example, frequencies used or data management.

In 2008, the European Commission published an Action plan for the deployment of ITS in Europe. This plan foresaw the definition of a mandate for the European standards organisations to develop harmonised standards for ITS implementation, in particular regarding cooperative systems.

This mandate (M/453) was addressed to CEN, CENELEC AND ETSI in October 2009. These organisations were invited to prepare a coherent set of standards, specifications and guidelines to support the implementation and deployment of cooperative ITS systems at the European level. CEN and ETSI formally accepted the mandate. CENELEC did not accept it and therefore did not take part in standards developments under this particular mandate.

In July 2010, a legal framework (Directive 2010/40/EU) was adopted to accelerate the deployment of ITS across Europe. Linking the vehicle with the transport infrastructure was defined as a priority area.

In the course of 2013, ETSI and CEN/ISO finalised the work related to the Release 1 standardisation package and completed their mandate. They announced this important achievement today at the opening of the 6th ETSI workshop on ITS in Berlin.

The continued ITS standardisation effort is supported by the European Commission Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation.

Key EU-funded research projects in the field

Projects such as Coopers, CVIS, Safespot delivered results which contributed, under the coordination of the COMeSafety project, to the definition of communication architecture for cooperative systems. This work has been further validated by large-scale pilots such as Drive C2X and FOTSIS.

Video message of Neelie Kroes at the 6th ETSI Workshop on ITS in Berlin

Source: EU Commission


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