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Opportunities under Horizon Europe for connected and autonomous vehicle projects

EU funding for autonomous vehicles
Gorka Arzallus

Gorka Arzallus

Consultant and Transport expert

The European mobility landscape is in dire need of a transformation into a safe, resilient and sustainable system, supported by smart and demand-based transport services and technologies. To address this challenge, the European Commission (EC) is setting up R&I pathways towards the development of smart and adaptable technologies, and the necessary supporting infrastructures, that enable the reduction of accidents due to human error – , this is the cause of around 90% of road accidents, according to Markus Egelhaaf, accident researcher at DEKRA –, energy consumption and traffic congestion, improving the overall safety, efficiency and sustainability of the mobility sector.

Under the Horizon Europe framework, inside Cluster 5 – Climate, Energy and Mobility, the EC considers Safe, Resilient Transport and Smart Mobility services for passengers and goods as a key destination (Destination 6).

Do you have an innovative project on connected and autonomous vehicles? Do you think that it fits in Horizon Europe call for proposals? We can help you!

Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM)

The Connected, Collaborative and Autonomous Mobility Partnership (CCAM) – co-Programmed with the European Commission in the Horizon Europe framework, was officialised in June 2021 thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding signature between the concerned parties. The Partnership aims to create a more user-centred and inclusive mobility system, reducing accident risks, environmental impact and traffic congestion, and support the further understanding and acceptance of CCAM technologies by the EU’s general public and institutions.

To do so, the Partnership launches yearly funding topics in the CCAM sector, under the Horizon Europe framework, inside Cluster 5, Destination 6. Five topics are published for the 2023 call, with 05 September 2023 as deadline, and with a total budget of 50M€.


The first CCAM topic of the 2023 call, HORIZON-CL5-2023-D6-01-01: “User-centric development of vehicle technologies and solutions to optimise the on-board experience and ensure inclusiveness” aims to support project ideas that develop innovative technologies (TRL5) that optimise the usability and inclusiveness of road transport mobility services, ensuring the safety of the passengers without impacting their experience. The project consortia should have a multidisciplinary approach, with special care to user experience evaluation and the involvement of Social Science and Humanities (SSH) experts.

The second topic, HORIZON-CL5-2023-D6-01-02: “Generation of scenarios for development, training, virtual testing and validation of CCAM systems”, on the other hand, focuses on the training and validation of CCAM technologies, developing the necessary AI-based tools for data management and validation and setting up the necessary demonstration scenarios, combining simulated and real-life data. Data management should be a key focus point for any project applying for this topic, including cyber-security and data protection issues.

HORIZON-CL5-2023-D6-01-03: “Infrastructure-enabled solutions for improving the continuity or extension of Operational Design Domains (ODDs)” aims to support consortia in the development of technologies, such as digital twins, that extend the operational domains for CCAM systems. The solutions proposed by the projects should be further demonstrated than in the previous two topics, being an Innovation Action, and reach a final TRL of 6-7 (TRL7 preferably).

With a more SSH approach, HORIZON-CL5-2023-D6-01-04: “Integrating European diversity in the design, development and implementation of CCAM solutions to support mobility equity” focuses on supporting research on the implications cultural and regional particularities have on the deployment of CCAM systems, defining the necessary methodologies and recommendations for developers, and demonstrating these through four pilots.

Finally, following with the SSH approach, HORIZON-CL5-2023-D6-01-05: “CCAM effects on jobs and education, plans for skills that match the CCAM development, and prerequisites for employment growth” has the goal of fostering a sustainable uptake of CCAM technologies in EU, by addressing the challenge of ensuring employment security in the sector. The projects are required to identify necessary skills for future CCAM-related jobs, and design methodologies for the development and enhancement of said skills.

All topics under the CCAM Partnership’s scope are also encouraged to involve entities from third countries, being Japan and the USA the main preference. The results generated by the projects should also be shared with the CCAM Partnership in support of their KPI monitoring efforts.

Zabala Innovation attended the European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving (EUCAD), a two-day event organized by the EC, CCAM Partnership and FAME project, that was held in Brussels (Belgium) 3-4th May 2023. The conference, first physical edition since 2019, encompassed relevant discussions in terms of policymaking, EU innovation pathways, relationships with other countries, and current developments of hardware and software solutions. The event was also an opportunity for the CCAM Partnership to present the public consultation of their SRIA, open until the 31 May 2023. Any views and perspectives are welcome, contacting the CCAM office (marzena.jougounoux@ccam.eu).

Road safety, a priority for the European Commission

Drastically decreasing the number of transport accidents is one of the EC’s priorities, with the ambitious goal of moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050. To achieve it, two topics related to road safety have been published in the HEU CL5-D6, with 05 September 2023 as deadline. The total accumulated contribution for these three topics by the EC is 18M€.

EU funding for autonomous vehicles: practical advice for applicants

Connected and autonomous vehicle  technology is still an emerging concept, and the proposed project ideas need to be disruptive. The related funding topics reflect this requirement, as out of the eight mentioned in this article, only one is an Innovation Action (TRL 6-7). The projects are expected to reach an average TRL of 5 (see each specific topic).

R&I projects in the mobility sector tend to focus on their most technical aspects, disregarding other issues, such as SSH. The topics mentioned in this article, however, strongly encourage the integration of the social dimension in the project roadmap and activities, particularly considering human-machine interaction aspects or the societal impact and acceptance of CCAM technologies. To achieve this, the multidisciplinarity of the consortia is paramount.

Moreover, the topic descriptions suggest the building of heterogeneous consortia, not only in terms of focus or areas of expertise, but also in terms of nationality. Adaptability of the proposed solutions to different geographical and cultural contexts is key.

If you need help in your proposal preparation phase, it is key to find a partner that not only understands the project idea, but also knows how to fit it under the scope of the topic to ensure maximum eligibility and success probability. Zabala Innovation can fit the role of this trusted partner, providing experts in the field and in the European funding landscape.

Expert person

Gorka Arzallus
Gorka Arzallus

Brussels Office

Consultant and Transport expert

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