The New EU Framework for the Connected Cars Environment

On 24 October 2018 the European Commission instated a public consultation on the use of pioneer spectrum 5G, cybersecurity and on a data sharing governance framework with regard to Connected and Automated Mobility.

The results of this consultation might shape the Commission’s further steps in deciding how the vast amount of data generated and processed by the new generation of “smart” cars should be handled, which will greatly impact all businesses connected to the car industry.

The public consultation plays into the general framework of the EU’s approach to instate a coherent regulation for these new developments in the larger automobile industry and for individual mobility in general. The Commission had already launched an initiative on a clean, competitive and connected mobility for the future called “Europe on the Move” in 2017 and issued a joint Communication with the Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the EU strategy for automated mobility on 17 May 2018.1

Based on the results of the consultation, the Commission plans to publish recommendations and guidelines for the commercial and public parties involved, while a comprehensive regulation is already scheduled to be drafted and implemented in the next year, with additional changes to come after the European Parliament will have been elected anew in May 2019.

The consultation addresses both the issues of automated driving and connected cars and is directed at the general public. However, while automated driving might be a more technical question with the standards to be established mainly being important for the manufacturers and their suppliers, the question of data collection, processing and exchange might resonate with a whole number of business areas connected to the automobile industry.

In the future, the data generated and processed by connected cars will play a major role for all services connected to automobiles like eg sales and leasing, maintenance and repair, (after-marked) car part supply as well as insurance, but also more distant areas like advertising. Entire business models might be altered, disrupted or created anew. While some of the involved parties are already trying to learn from successful business models in the mobile industry,2 which had been fundamentally disrupted by the rise of the smart phone and its impact on data generation and processing, most smaller players still seem to be overwhelmed by the upcoming changes.

The EU in general aims to find regulations that will guarantee safety for consumers and their personal data and a competitive market environment while also protecting the environment and not hindering the technical progresses. For all these issues the regulations on limitations for data collection and accessibility will be key.

As there is hope that the Commission will heed the calls and advice of businesses that may be affected by these developments and regulations, interested parties should partake in the consultation.

1See press release “Europe on the Move” and Communication “On the road to automated mobility: An EU strategy for mobility of the future”, COM(2018) 283.
2 Volkswagen recently announced the introduction of User-IDs, which will become central for all services connected to its cars.

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