On November 30th, 2016, the European Commission (EC) adopted the Communication, titled “European Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), a milestone initiative towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility”. According to the EC in the very near future our vehicles, which are already connected devices, will also interact directly with each other and with the road infrastructure.

In this regard, the Communication presents the EU Strategy for the coordinated deployment of C-ITS in order to avoid a fragmented internal market in the field of C-ITS and create synergies between different initiatives. It addresses the most critical issues, including cyber-security and data protection (both particularly important for public acceptance) and interoperability and recommends action at different levels to meet the 2019 target date.

Under the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), road users and traffic managers will be able to share and use information previously not available and to coordinate their actions.Communication between vehicles, infrastructure and with other road users is crucial also to increase the safety of automated vehicles and their full integration into the overall transport system. Cooperation, connectivity, and automation are not only complementary technologies, they reinforce each other and will over time merge completely.

The main elements of the Strategy are the following:

1.Avoid a fragmented internal market: The first objective of the Strategy is t to avoid a fragmented internal market in the field of C-ITS and to create synergies between different initiatives, in order to ensure continuity and interoperability of C-ITS services throughout Europe;

2. Define and support common priorities: the Strategy considers a list of technologically mature C-ITS services with clear benefits for transport and society at large, which should be deployed quickly throughout the EU by Member States and local authorities, vehicle manufacturers, road operators and the ITS industry;

3. Use a mix of communication technologies: the Strategy presents a hybrid communication approach combining complementary and available communication technologies. Currently, the most promising hybrid communication mix is a combination of WiFi based short range communication (ETSI ITS-G5) and existing cellular networks.This ensures the best possible support for deployment of all Day 1 C-ITS services. It combines low latency of ETSI ITS-G5 for time-critical safety-related C-ITS messages with wide geographical coverage and access to large user groups of existing cellular networks

4. Address security and data protection issues: the Strategy includes the development of a common EU security policy for C-ITS, as well as specific actions to safeguard the right of citizens to control their personal data.

5. Develop the right legal framework: the Strategy includes the development of such a legal framework, in close cooperation with, and learning from experience of C-ITS deployment projects such as the initiatives gathered under the C-ROADS platform.The Commission will consider using the ITS Directive 2010/40/EU, in order to create a single market for cooperative, connected and automated vehicles. The directive identifies in its Article 2 priority areas for the development and use of specifications and standards, among which the area of linking the vehicle with the transport infrastructure is included.

6. Cooperate at international level: the Strategy includes the continuation of cooperation with international partners and initiatives in order to learn from each other, in particular the twinning of research and innovation projects.

The Strategy takes also into account protection of personal data and privacy, which is a determining factor for the successful deployment of cooperative, connected and automated vehicles. According to the Communication, Data broadcast by C-ITS from vehicles will, in principle, qualify as personal data as it will relate to an identified or identifiable natural person. The implementation of C-ITS therefore requires compliance with the applicable data protection legal framework (Directive 95/46/EC applies until 24 May 2018. It has been repealed by Regulation (EU) 2016/679 - General Data Protection Regulation, applicable on 25 May 2018. Directive 2002/58/EC of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector is currently under a REFIT exercise by the Commission.). In addition, Data protection by design and by default principles and data protection impact assessments will be very important in the basic C-ITS system layout and engineering.

Ultimately, the Strategy includes Cyber-security of C-ITS communications, which is critical to avoid hacking and cyber-attacks, and requires action at European level. Information received from vehicles or from the infrastructure must be trustworthy. The C-ITS strategy proposes the development, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders in the C-ITS domain, of a common security and certificate policy, based on Public Key Infrastructure technology, for vehicles and public infrastructure elements.