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European Transport Ministers sign Amsterdam Declaration on steps for development and harmonization of connected, autonomous driving in Europe

On 14 April, the transport ministers of all 28 EU member states signed the Amsterdam Declaration, laying down agreements on the steps necessary for the development of connected, autonomous driving technology in the EU. The signatories pledge to draw up rules and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to be used on the roads.

A lack of good cooperation between EU member states could give rise to a jumble of different rules, thereby preventing the large-scale availability of this new technology. Agreements also need to be made on issues such as liability, privacy, data security and the effects of self-driving vehicles on traffic and the road network.

Connected and automated vehicles are already being tested on public roads and are gradually being introduced on the market for commercial use. In the early stages of this transition, open competition between different models and initiatives is needed to instigate creativity and innovation. However, both industry and users demand that new services and systems should be interoperable and compatible when crossing borders.

The European Commission has taken important steps with the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) platform, the Round Table on Connected and Automated Driving and the Gear 2030 initiative. Nevertheless, a more coordinated approach is called for between Member States and at European level to remove barriers and to promote a step-by-step learning-by-experience approach such as the European truck platooning challenge. It is essential to support an exchange of information of results and best practices by linking and integrating such initiatives.

—Amsterdam Declaration

Ongoing cooperation between governments and industry is key. It would be impractical to have to change the settings on your car every time you cross a border.

—Dutch transport minister Melanie Schultz

The Declaration defines the following objectives:

  • to work towards a coherent European framework for the deployment of interoperable connected and automated driving, which should be available, if possible, by 2019;

  • to bring together developments of connected and automated driving in order to reach their full potential to improve road safety, human health, traffic flows, and to reduce the environmental impact of road transport;

  • to adopt a “learning by experience” approach, including, where possible, cross-border cooperation, sharing and expanding knowledge on connected and automated driving and to develop practical guidelines to ensure interoperability of systems and services;

  • to support further innovation in connected and automated vehicle technologies to strengthen the global market position of European industry; and

  • to ensure data protection and privacy.

The document also sets out actions by members states, the European Commission, and industry.

An important priority for member states is ensuring ensure that the Vienna and Geneva Conventions on Road Traffic allow the use of connected and automated vehicles on public roads, and to consider a revision of vehicle and traffic safety regulations within this context.

Further, member states should identify and, where possible, remove legal barriers to the testing and deployment of connected and automated vehicles, based on a learning-by-experience approach.

Member states will also need to support large-scale cross-border testing of connected and automated driving technologies, based on a common European approach.

For its part, the EC needs to develop a shared European strategy on connected and automated driving, based upon the shared objectives of the Declaration, as well as through strengthening the links between existing platforms such as the C-ITS Platform, Gear 2030 and the Round Table on Connected and Automated Driving.

Further, the document urges the EC to consider continuing the C-ITS platform for the deployment of interoperable C-ITS in the EU and to widen its scope to include infrastructure related aspects, traffic management and road safety for connected and automated driving. The EU regulatory framework will need to be adapted to support the development and use of automated and connected driving, respecting the principle of subsidiarity.

The EC is also to develop a coordinated approach towards research and innovation activities in the field of connected and automated driving, within the Energy Union Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy and its Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda, bringing together the work of the EU and of Member States.

Industry participants are to participate actively in the development of the European strategy and agenda on connected and automated driving—and, of course, to develop vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems (C-ITS) and continue standardization work to ensure that new services and systems are interoperable at EU level.

The Amsterdam Declaration stresses the importance of interoperability and standardization both at the European and at the international level.

Industry is also urged to investigate which performance and safety requirements should apply to mobile communications networks to facilitate connected and automated driving, in conjunction with short-range communications (ITS – G5) to facilitate hybrid communication.

While in Amsterdam for the informal meeting of the Transport Council at which the Declaration was signed, the European transport ministers allowed themselves to be transported in a partly self-driving car from the National Maritime Museum to the EYE Film Museum.

This demonstration emphasized the Netherlands’ position as a proving ground for self-driving vehicles. Car manufacturers involved are Volvo, Daimler, BMW, Renault, PSA, JLR, Vedecom, TNO/Davi, Tesla and Audi. Other partners are TomTom, the city of Amsterdam, de Dutch Road Transport Agency, Rijkswaterstaat and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

Vehicle technology is developing rapidly. Cars and trucks are equipped with an increasing number of automatic driver assistance features, including automatic parking, brake assist and traffic jam assist. In future generations of smart mobility the vehicle will take over more and more of the driver’s tasks. Vehicles will also increasingly be connected with each other and the infrastructure through the exchange of data. Automatic features and connectivity offer many advantages:

  • greater safety;
  • reduced CO2 emissions;
  • improved flow of traffic;
  • a more comfortable and relaxing form of travel;
  • more efficient use of infrastructure and fewer traffic jams; and
  • more transport options for less mobile groups, such as inhabitants of rural areas, the elderly or people with a handicap.


Account Deleted

I fear that rules of standardization will be used to block and delay the emergence of fully self-driving vehicles. Self-driving vehicles is a huge threat to the economic interest of the oil industry and the old auto industry that has invested 100s of billions of USD in factories that make combustion engines, exhaust systems and complex transmissions that will all be worthless when driverless BEVs take over because they offer much cheaper ways of transporting people and goods.

It is not possible to harmonize a technology that has not been developed. Try doing it will lead to inefficient results or even block any progress. What we need is to remove current laws that are blocking the development of efficient driverless battery electric cars.

There is a rule that requires a steering wheel, a braking pedal and a gas pedal in a car. That rule has no justification for a driverless car of cause.

There is also a rule that cars must have a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels of the car. That rule is not needed either for any car that has electric servo steering which most new cars have today. It just adds thousands of USD to make a car and delays new cars with better technology from being launched as early as they could otherwise be launched. The rule has to go and be replaced with a rule that requires redundant power and data connections between the steering wheel and the electric servo steering which cost peanuts by comparison to a mechanical connection and is just as safe.

The same is true for the braking pedal which is also required to have a mechanical relation to the brakes. It has to go and be replaced with a redundancy rule for its power and data connection.

Another idiotic rule made for a non-digital era is the rule that requires cars to have side mirrors that creates air drags and increases fuel consumption significantly. The world could save between 100,000 to 300,000 barrels of oil per day by replacing side mirrors with video streaming that of cause also needs redundancy. With video streaming a much better view of the cars surroundings is possible than with side mirrors so it will save lives as well to get rid of the side mirror law.

The authorities need to get their act together and start to do something about making our cars safer from accidents and air pollution both of which cause death on a massive scale all over the world. In the US alone 30,000 dies each year in car accidents and 55,000 dies each year prematurely because of air-pollution from gasser and diesel vehicles.


Standardization is the way to go for automated drive vehicles (and e-charging and H2 facilities) in EU.

Others will follow soon thereafter?

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