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European Commission begged by companies to fund autonomous vehicle tests across EU

Dozens of auto-makers, cellular carriers and industry specialists are urging the EU to back self-driving car tests across the Union. The companies, among which you’ll find Orange, Deutsche Telekom, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and others are asking Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger to back them in this endeavor.

Self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles (AV), are a very hot topic of discussion right now. Pretty much all the big technology names, as well as classic auto-makers, are involved with AVs right now, including: Microsoft, Apple, Google/Alphabet, Uber, Ford, Lyft, Volvo, GM, Tesla, Toyota, Alibaba and so on.

With the technology rapidly improving and more and more companies jumping on board, many companies believe that it’s now time for national government and international bodies to step up to the table as well. And today a host of commercial entities from across markets are urging the EU to fund tests that would see AVs drive across borders in the EU.

The tests would primarily trial how autonomous vehicles handle long-range travel, while switching between different cellular networks, internet speeds, and varying conditions on the road. The companies claim the EU’s funding for these tests is absolutely crucial not only for the development of autonomous vehicles, but also for the regulation needed to go along with them. Another crucial aspect of the process is seeing how well cellular networks handle the large amounts of data needed by such vehicles, and analyzing how this impacts the implementation of future 5G technologies.

The interesting bit is that the EU largely supports autonomous vehicle development and deployment, and the European Commission constantly harps on about its 5G deployment plans. You’d think with so much good will, today’s proposal would be a shoo-in. Unfortunately, the EU has a number of bodies and commissions that are working on AVs, oftentimes causing delays and headaches for those who’d want to see the technology being adopted sooner.

Meanwhile national governments and companies have taken up the call, with the UK running multiple AV tests this year, while Europe recently saw the first successful driverless truck convoy drive across its roads.

Source: EurActiv

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