Round table during the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA): automated and connected cars

Carmakers, tech companies, and innovators in many sectors of the digital economy are throwing their efforts into automated vehicles. In the very near future, these vehicles will not need drivers to take an active role, instead, they will scan their environment and communicate with other vehicles and with traffic management systems. Passengers can connect to the internet and use their time as they wish. The Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens its doors tomorrow, gives an exciting insight into what the future will bring.

But connected and automated cars are not only about building the car itself and the technology inside it. We need to move forward many significant issues before these vehicles are common place on our roads.  We need to agree on technical standards, including those on 5G which will be essential for connected cars, and all connected devices in our future economy. We need to resolve legal and ethical questions. What about cyber security? Who owns and receives the data that connected and automated vehicles generate? Do our EU driving rules need an overhaul? Connected and automated driving needs many digital aspects to be in place. This is where we policymakers come in.

Earlier today, on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show, I chaired an important Round Table on this topic which was agreed during several discussions I had with the automotive and telecom industries over recent months. At the table were key players from both sectors including BMW, Continental, Daimler, Bosch, Renault, Valeo, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Tele2 and many more.

We discussed many digital aspects of connected and automated driving, how to shape these and how industries and the European Commission can work together on common objectives.

Most importantly, representatives of the sectors issued agreement  which paves the way for collaboration between the sectors. They commit to work on common roadmaps to speed up the development and deployment of connected automated driving. These roadmaps will cover better connectivity, mobile network coverage and reliability, the take-up of connected automated driving and how to address any security and privacy concerns of users.

We from the side of the European Commission will support this collaboration. In particular the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy will strengthen the secure and free flow of data, improve connectivity and remove digital barriers. We are not merely helping to shape a common technical concept of connected and automated driving throughout Europe, we want to create the right conditions and nurture the right business models for the automotive and the ICT sectors to thrive in Europe and lead internationally.

The teaming up of automotive and digital sector is hugely important for Europe's global competitiveness. And it is urgent too. Market developments go fast and global competition is fierce.

We live in a digital era and, as with all parts of industry, the digitisation of the mobility sector is gaining pace. Now is the time for cooperation between industry sectors. Neither the automotive industry, nor the telecoms sector, nor Europe can afford to miss this digital opportunity.

The next Round Table is planned for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2016. I look forward to seeing the results of this cooperation. I will keep you posted.

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