Message from the Secretary General - October 2015

Last month, more than 900,000 people visited the Frankfurt Motor Show to explore this year’s ‘Mobility Connects’ theme. ACEA took the occasion to present the European industry’s approach to tackling CO2 from road transport, with a particular focus on the potential of intelligent transport systems (ITS).

The role of ITS technologies in reducing CO2 emissions is particularly relevant in the context of the COP21 conference, which will start at the end of next month. As the world’s policy makers are about to meet in Paris to set new global climate goals, our industry reaffirms its commitment to further reducing CO2 emissions. European car manufacturers have been investing heavily in vehicle technology to ensure that CO2 emissions from new cars are 42 percent lower by 2021, when compared to 2005 levels.

However, in order to further reduce total CO2 emissions from road transport, ACEA members are advocating a much more ambitious and comprehensive approach for the future. This method does not only focus on new vehicles, instead it looks at all elements that affect emissions during the use of a vehicle. Influential factors are, for example, driver behaviour, fuel options, fleet renewal, infrastructure and the potential of ITS. In order to assess the prospects of the latter, ERTICO (a partnership of around 100 companies and institutions involved in the production of intelligent transport systems) joined us in Frankfurt to present their latest study, which clearly identifies the potential of intelligent transport systems to help meet emission-reduction targets, both in Europe and on the global level.

According to the study, the two most promising in-vehicle ITS technologies are eco-navigation and eco-driving support systems. Eco-navigation systems are navigation tools that can deliver fuel reductions of 5-10% by using real-time data to optimise routes.  Eco-driving systems analyse driving behaviour and provide the driver with feedback. Such systems hold the promise of reducing emissions by another 5-20%. When it comes to infrastructure-related measures, the technologies with the highest potential are traffic signal coordination and parking guidance. By giving drivers real-time advice on traffic signals and helping them to find parking space, such systems are expected to produce a further 10% savings in CO2 emissions from equipped vehicles.

On the other hand, new vehicles represent only 5% of the EU’s car fleet and the age of cars is close to ten years on average today. ERTICO’s findings make a clear case for faster fleet renewal, which would allow us to bring more vehicles with the latest technologies on the road. But connecting cars with each other is not enough, they also need intelligent infrastructure. That is why ACEA is calling on policy makers to invest in the more effective deployment of appropriate infrastructure.

This does not only relate to roads, bridges or other construction projects, but there is also great need to improve connectivity infrastructure, capable of handling millions of data points per second for millions of cars around the world in the decades to come. It is therefore vital to improve the coverage and reliability of mobile networks, and to promote the fast rollout of high-speed broadband. To this end, ACEA took part in a roundtable discussion with representatives of the European automotive and telecom sectors. Under the auspices of Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, both sectors joined forces by launching an EU industry dialogue to overcome the barriers that still prevent the widespread uptake of connectivity, automation and ITS technologies.

Moreover, connected and automated driving relies heavily on the collection, processing and use of data, making the protection of personal data a key issue. As the European automobile industry takes data protection very seriously, ACEA’s Board met in Frankfurt to adopt five principles to which our members will adhere. If ITS and the connected car are to fulfil their potential, manufacturers have to provide customers with a high level of protection and maintain their trust. That is what our members have now formally committed to. You can explore ACEA’s five data protection principles by clicking here.

Erik Jonnaert

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