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Connected and automated transport (CAT)

Connected and automated transport (CAT) technologies can contribute to increasing the efficiency and safety of the transport system. They can improve traffic flows, optimise infrastructure and public transport use, and foster multimodal transport solutions. In general, CAT can support the competitiveness of European transport manufacturing, telecom and IT industries in international markets, and enable the development of new passenger and freight services.

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CAT research image left

CAT poses a number of challenges for all transport modes. These include the development of technologies of hardware and software, vehicle infrastructure, data communication and decision-making levels, as well as validation of these technologies and the real-world testing in individual mobility, passenger and freight transport.

In road transport, the interaction of drivers, passengers and other road users with automated vehicles has to be understood and addressed in the engineering process. The long life-expectancy of rail rolling stock and infrastructure, the differences in legacy systems and the diversity of operational rules in various European countries may slow down the speed of deploying connected and automated systems.

While there has been an upsurge in automated, remote control technologies in waterborne transport, activities have mostly concerned testing, there has been few vessel deliveries using these technologies.

The Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda (STRIA) Roadmap on Connected and automated transport 2019 builds on and further develops the research and innovation initiatives outlined in the 2017 STRIA CAT Roadmap. It explains the actions needed to overcome the challenges and gaps in CAT in the European transport sector.

Current developments
Mode of Transport icon: road

Many car and truck manufacturers are developing and rolling out vehicles with higher automation. An increasing number of European cars are already equipped with partial automation technologies, and the next step is the introduction of vehicles where the driver can choose whether to drive or not.
Automated trucks and truck platooning are being tested on motorways in Europe. User-friendly automated public transport concepts have been demonstrated. Connectivity enables and will further expand automated vehicle performance by making distributed information and big data accessible.

Mode of Transport icon: train

CAT technologies are already embedded in rail-bound transport such as metro systems, in some cities also automated driverless rail-bound systems can be found. However, due to a diversified European rail sector the implementation of CAT technologies is slow and lowers competitiveness.
The Strategic Rail Research and innovation Agenda and related roadmaps for various parts of rail-bound systems as well as the multi-annual action plan of the Shift2Rail initiative address several aspects of automation and connectivity.

Mode of Transport icon: waterborne

Ship automation is well advanced with most modern ships and vessels being equipped with systems such as target detecting radars, autopilots and track pilots using satellite positioning. Some autonomous ship demonstrations have been made, but technology is still on a low readiness level. Safety is a main area where automation is expected to provide improvements, such as further addressing the human factor.
Better data integration and improved monitoring will allow CAT to contribute to a competitive European shipping industry and improve security in the transport systems. However, digital connectivity is a prerequisite for further improvements to increase capacity and coverage.

Key research and innovation pathways

The CAT roadmap focuses on actions that will develop technologies and support their swift deployment while ensuring the competitiveness of the European industry and enable potentially disruptive innovation that may lead to new transport services. This will provide a framework that contributes to the decarbonisation of the European transport sector allowing EU energy and climate targets to be met.
The roadmap indicates what needs to be done to close the gaps and seize the opportunities for CAT in Europe. The three modes considered in this roadmap, road, rail and waterborne transport, do not only have different spatial dimensions but also different technologies, physical infrastructures and human interaction, business and legal frameworks.
The concepts and approaches for the introduction of CAT, therefore, differ according to the mode. These differences are reflected in the thematic areas for each mode in the roadmap. The aviation is not explicitly covered, however it is taken into account for what regards cross-modal collaboration.

CAT research image 1: Road Transport, man holding smartphone with connectivity
There are eight thematic fields for road transport:
  1. In-vehicle enablers
  2. Vehicle validation
  3. Large scale demonstration pilots to enable deployment
  4. Shared, connected, and automated mobility services for people and goods
  5. Socio-economic impacts and user/public acceptance
  6. Human factors
  7. Physical and digital infrastructure and secure connectivity
  8. Big data, artificial intelligence, and their applications
CAT research image 2: Rail transport, image of train station
  1. Rolling stock enablers for remote control of train operation and autonomous train operation
  2. Environment and operating monitoring
  3. Large scale demonstrations to enable EU-wide deployment
  4. Railway network information, management, maintenance, and control
  5. Socio-economic and environmental impacts and user/public acceptance
  6. Human factors
  7. Physical and digital infrastructure and secure connectivity
  8. Big data, artificial intelligence, and their applications
  9. Safety
CAT research image 3: waterborne. Image of cargo container ship at sea
  1. In-vessel enablers
  2. Condition and operational monitoring
  3. Validation and large-scale demonstration to enable deployment
  4. Electronic information exchange and certification
  5. Socio-economic impact of CAT
  6. Changed working conditions
  7. Physical and digital infrastructure
  8. Big data, artificial intelligence, and their applications
  9. Secure connectivity

Data at-a-glance

TRIMIS Data at-a-glance presents the main transport research and innovation indicators based on TRIMIS data. Find out more about the geographical distribution of European Union transport research and innovation funding, discover the organisations involved in transport research activities and the evolution of funding. Discover the TRIMIS overview for overall data and the seven STRIA Roadmaps.

Further details are available in the full TRIMIS Dashboard.

Number of projects

EU contribution

Distribution of EU contribution

Transport-Related reserach and innovation funding