The automotive sector is the EU’s number one investor in R&D, responsible for 29% of total spending. Moreover, EU automotive investment in R&D has increased by 6.1% to reach €60.9 billion annually.
Vehicle manufacturers are a driving force for innovation in Europe, leading research and development into ever-safer, cleaner vehicles as well as improving manufacturing processes, logistics and mobility management.
Today’s safer roads and cleaner, more efficient vehicles are the direct result of past investment in R&D. They are also proof of the innovation and skills that characterise a highly competitive European automotive sector. Europe leads the world in patents for self-driving vehicles, accounting for 33.3% of all applications.
Typically, R&D is a strategic and long-term process; automotive R&D relies on significant investment and, increasingly, partnership with stakeholders. It takes time to carry out R&D and undertake thorough tests to deliver production-ready technologies. Bringing them to market is yet another step, which is why vehicle manufacturers need decade-long lead-times to implement new technologies and requirements.
Transport and mobility are a prerequisite for economic prosperity and social activity, but also pose significant challenges for sustainability. In the decades to come, automotive research will focus on areas such as transport rationalisation, improving road safety and focusing on the environmental impact of increased mobility needs.