We continue our C-MobILE interviews with the project partners on progresses and different aspects of the C-MobILE technology and solutions for a smart and efficient deployment of C-ITS services in Europe. This month, we talked to Olivier Lenz, FIA Region I Programmes Director, who is responsible for FIA Region I research projects and multi‐stakeholder co‐operations with view to supporting and strengthening the organisation’s objectives and strategies.

Olivier, within C-MobILE you are responsible for the liaison activities. What are the main benefits for FIA in working with an international consortium of public and private partners?
FIA works towards improving mobility for all, making it safer and more sustainable. Advanced driver assistance systems as well as connected transport technology are amongst the main levers that FIA has been spearheading for many years, realising the tremendous benefits they can bring when implemented on large scale.

Complementarity and integration are key elements when it comes to cooperative transport technology. Considering that cooperative applications have been designed to pursue different objectives and address specific situations, they often have been developed in a silo-based approach and deployed independently from each other. While following a logical development path, this has led to a series of downsides, such as limited scalability, potential weaknesses in system security, and potential lack in complementarity that open architecture systems tend to offer. At the same time, a high level of complementarity should be an important aspect for solutions to be technically viable and commercially successful.

European projects such as C-MobILE are addressing those caveats and putting emphasis on reaching out to a series of stakeholders to facilitate multi-level collaboration. In order to facilitate wider cooperation and collaboration, the C-MobILE has set itself as an important objective to liaise with a range of external entities at European and national and local levels, at research and at policy level, with private and public actors, with the aim to pursue the aims of the projects. FIA, making use of its wide network of member organisations and ties to multiple actors in the field, has taking up this task and managed to ensure that the work done within the project was conveyed to the relevant stakeholders, providing the opportunity for a multilateral exchange of good practice.

What is the most exciting and innovative aspect of C-Mobile for you?
In the past years, there have been tremendous progresses in the field of intelligent transport systems. Besides the ones made in research and development, cooperative transport technology has also been deployed in many European regions and cities, demonstrating and validating the maturity of the applications to reach a more efficient and sustainable transport system. C-MobILE, together with national cooperative mobility projects, has been a major contributor to the effort to deploy the technology. Together, they contribute to display the potential benefits of cooperative systems in increasing both energy efficiency and safety for specific transport modes, in road transport in particular.

Over the last few years, the C-MobILE project has stimulated the deployment of C-ITS towards a large-scale interoperable roll-out across Europe. The project has managed to develop a series of well-defined operational procedures allowing a decentralised and dynamic coupling of systems, services and stakeholders across countries and organisations in an open, but secure C-ITS ecosystem. The FIA is proud to be part of this endeavour.

FIA represents users; why is the participation in European projects important for user organisations like yours? What can user organisations bring to these projects?
Cooperative transport technology offers a huge potential to further improve travel, traffic and mobility support. Mobile consumers, who at the end are those who will benefit from the implementation of cooperative transport technology, logically need to be at the centre of all concerns. Deploying such technology without having in mind the needs and requirements of its final users would risk jeopardising the pursued objective and necessity of the research and innovation efforts.

FIA is looking at the deployment of transport technology from the user perspective with view to maximise the potential benefits offered by the technology and the enabled applications. For this, we observe and analyse market trends and regularly survey consumers to understand their concerns and interests. Like that, we can put forward those interests to the research and innovation activities, as we do in C-MobILE. In this way, we help to ensure that developed mobility solutions correspond best to user needs and requirements.

What are FIA main priorities and focus at the moment?
The main priorities of FIA in transport and mobility lie in the areas of safety, cleaner transport, efficiency and affordability, without neglecting ease of use and comfort. In particular, connectivity and cooperative transport technology can tremendously contribute to achieve those aims. Over the longer term, FIA is working towards achieving cooperative connected and automated mobility, which we expect will bring us a leap way forward towards our objective to making mobility more sustainable, safer, cleaner, while keeping it affordable for all.

Besides vehicle connectivity, FIA is working on making the transport offer better integrated, and therefore closer to the needs of its users. In addition, connectivity will be a central aspect in enabling service providers to offer tailor-made mobility services to mobile consumers in an effective and efficient way. While comfort, ease of use and affordability are important concerns for users, scalability, security, interoperability and service complementarity are key enablers from the service provision perspective. The contribution of C-MobILE to reach this objective is a further significant achievement.