Self-driving vehicles: European automotive R&D leading the global race

Press Release

Self-driving vehicles: European automotive R&D leading the global race

    • New study on automotive patents shows that Europe is leading the global race for self-driving vehicle innovation
    • More than 300 key stakeholders discuss automotive research and innovation at EUCAR Conference in Brussel
    • Automated driving experience demonstrates L3Pilot research results

Brussels, 9 November 2018 – Research and innovation in the field of automated driving was high on the agenda of the 2018 EUCAR Conference earlier this week. A lively debate on the future of urban mobility, brought policy makers and authorities together with auto manufacturers, researchers and suppliers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow’s mobility ecosystem.

Clearly, automated driving is one of the cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping our world. “The number of related European patent applications has grown 20 times faster than other technologies”, explained Roberta Romano-Götsch of the European Patent Office (EPO). In fact, a new EPO study shows that Europe accounted for 37.2% of all patent applications related to self-driving vehicle technologies at the EPO between 2011 and 2017; ahead of China (3%), Japan (13%) and the United States (33.7%).

Europe’s leadership was demonstrated by the L3Pilot flagship project at the conference, which presented various use cases of automation that have been developed by EUCAR’s members. Within one year, the project team developed automation technologies addressing a wide range of driving situations, including parking, overtaking on motorways and driving through urban intersections. Looking ahead, the L3Pilot aims to pave the way for large-scale field tests with enhanced series-production cars on public roads: in 10 countries and across borders, with 100 cars and 1,000 users.

Keynote speaker and EUCAR Chairman Gerd Schuster (Senior Vice President Research, New Technologies and Innovations at BMW Group), emphasised the joint responsibility of all stakeholders. “Together with our partners in industry, politics and society, we concentrate on the long-term aspects of mobility to serve society and remain competitive,” said Schuster while stressing that this does not only relate to the industry’s customers and employees, but to all Europeans. Indeed, the success of European automotive innovation – now and in the future – depends on a constructive dialogue between public and private partners. And that is exactly what EUCAR aims to achieve in the long run.


EUCAR (European Council for Automotive R&D, is the association for collaborative research and innovation of the major automobile manufacturers in Europe. These manufacturers contribute to sustainable mobility and a competitive European industry, investing more than €50bn per year in research and development. The industry’s investments are leveraged by the collaborative work performed with support of the European Framework Programmes, currently Horizon 2020. The EUCAR Council comprises the heads of research and advanced development of the member companies.

EUCAR members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford of Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, IVECO, Opel Automobile GmbH, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, Volvo Group.

EUCAR is closely connected to ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

Contact EUCAR at +32 2 7387352 or [email protected]

The press release can be found here.

The full version of the EPO study can be found here.