Autonomous cars and IoT get combined €239m from Horizon 2020 funding

13 Oct 2015

Autonomous car prototype Nissan Leaf. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Announcing a total of €16bn in funding for the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Union (EU) has set aside a total of €239m for autonomous car technology and the internet of things (IoT).

The Horizon 2020 programme has been one of the major sources of funding for research bodies within the EU and as part of the new Work Programme for 2016-17, this will be expanded upon once again.

In line with the strategic priorities laid out by the Research, Science and Innovation department within the EU, it will offer funding opportunities through a range of calls for proposals, public procurements and other actions like the Horizon Prizes, which together cover nearly 600 topics.

Perhaps two of the most interesting topics that have received backing as part of the new Work Programme are those involved in autonomous cars and IoT, which have received more than €100m and €139m respectively.

The technologies are expected to be key factors in the development of smart cities, which in itself has received €232m to better integrate environmental, transport, energy and digital networks in the EU’s urban environments.

The largest single funding programme has been assigned to the modernisation of Europe’s manufacturing industry, which will have €1bn in funding available for research bodies looking to develop such technologies.

Migrant crisis modeling gets additional funding

In addition to funding technology for the betterment of society, additional funding is being set aside for humanitarian and counter-terrorism initiatives.

The European Commission says that at least €8m in funding will be made available for research on security of the EU’s external borders to help identify and prevent human trafficking and smuggling, while €27m will be put into the development of new technologies to help prevent crime.

Additionally, the ongoing migrant crisis, which has seen millions of Syrians flee their country in search of refuge in Europe, has been given significant priority with €15m available for research into the origin and impact of migration flows in Europe.

Start-ups will also receive major backing as part of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme with €740m being dedicated to support research and innovation activities in nearly 2,000 SMEs.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said of the new funding: “Research and innovation are the engines of Europe’s progress and vital to addressing today’s new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies.

“Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe’s top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens’ lives.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic