During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, senior executives from more than 20 major players in the telecommunication and automotive industries joined Commissioner Oettinger in the second edition of his Roundtable on connected and automated driving.

The Mobile World Congress not only showcased the present state of telecommunication systems, but also provided an excellent insight into future deployments; a future where drivers do not need to take an active role in steering their vehicles anymore. Instead, cars will scan their environment and communicate with other vehicles and with traffic management systems to drive automatically. Meanwhile passengers will be able to use their time as they wish.

It was exciting to learn how fast both industries are progressing towards connected and automated driving. The participants in the roundtable discussed many digital aspects of connected and automated driving, how to shape these and how industry and the European Commission can work together on common objectives as well as develop new business models. Spectrum, cybersecurity and privacy issues are important factors which need to be tackled if we are to see public acceptance of connected and automated cars.

In the first Roundtable in September 2015 the sectors agreed to work together and ensure that communication systems are upgraded to be fast and secure enough to support the technology for automated driving.

The window of opportunity is open now. In his speech, Commissioner Oettinger encouraged participants to move quickly in order to align the roadmaps of automotive and telecommunication industries, coming up with a proposal for a pan-European project and providing input to legislative proposals.

Lots of interesting things are coming up. In the past months the collaboration between the sectors has made good progress: by summer, a joint action plan to guide future cooperation will be ready and roadmaps are expected to be aligned. We are expecting to receive input on our ongoing legislative work, e.g. for the Telecom review. In the coming weeks, we will organise workshops on topics such as standardisation and functional safety. Discussions will continue on how a pan-European joint test-bed project (possibly supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, EFSI) could accelerate deployment.

The next Roundtable is scheduled for early July, bringing in additional stakeholders such as service providers to make the dream of connected and automated driving become a reality soon. We will let you know how things progress.

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