New EU consultation on autonomous vehicles

November 29, 2018

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM). It is part of the Commission’s strategy to make Europe a world leader for autonomous vehicle technology.

The Commission has identified three important areas that need more clarification and are of concern both to the general public and key stakeholders: use of data, cybersecurity and the 5G frequency commercial bands. The consultation has been split into two sections, one containing questions addressed to the general public and then another with questions addressed to particular actors in the ecosystem.

Nearly half of the first set of questions focus on in-vehicle data. Over the past year, the public has become very familiar with requests for consent to companies holding and using their personal data, following the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation. Similarly in this consultation, the public are being asked to consider which companies should have access to in-vehicle data, for example from their journey history, such as manufacturers, public authorities and other car companies, and whether consent is necessary.

In-vehicle data continues to be a central concern in the second half of the consultation, in terms of how the data should be shared and used and also the ever looming threat of cybersecurity breaches. Again, the consultation focuses on the concerns users may have with sharing their data but also who users and manufacturers believe should be setting and enforcing the rules and guidance on the use of in-vehicle data and how, if at all, companies are using any data they are collecting already. It also raises the interesting point of other actors in the ecosystem that are connected to autonomous vehicles, e.g. mobile phones and cloud service providers. These devices may also have access to in-vehicle data and therefore add another dimension to the risk of potential cyber breaches.

The Commission have made it clear in their Communication on Connected and Automated Mobility that they believe it is essential that any cybersecurity solutions, including those concerning in-vehicle security, are agreed upon at a global level. These solutions can then be incorporated into EU law. It is currently proposed that protection of vehicles against cyberattacks is dealt with as part of the revised General Safety Regulation.

The final part of the consultation deals with future and upcoming technology, such as 5G commercial bands, and asks what capabilities are expected and also how and who should be regulating them.

The consultation closes on the 4th December and the responses will be published on the Digital Single Market webpage shortly after.


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