Unveiled: EU’s Smart Cities Innovation Scheme

€365 million in EU funds for 2013 have been set aside for the development of urban technology. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) will see private businesses and the EU executives gather research from ICT, energy and transport to develop a number of approved projects.

Some projects that are being discussed include silent electric buses that make use of digital technology, satellite technology with the aim of improving traffic flow, a Smartphone app that allows users to reserve alternative fuel rental vehicles and faster charging mechanisms for electric vehicles.

The EU communication said, of the scheme, that improving the efficiency and sustainability of European cities was a vital goal and commitment for 2020 targets. This is due to urban areas consuming 70% of the EUs energy, with 1% of the entire regions GDP goes towards congestion costs.

Neelie Kroes, Commission vice president, responsible for the Digital Agenda, described most cities as “dumb” and that there is a need for them to be converted into smarter, green cities.

Kroes went on to say that introducing new technologies to cities could take a large amount of time due to “strong vested interest and a resistance to breaking down barriers” in sectors such as healthcare, waste management and energy. Many companies may be disinclined to completely overhaul their current systems as it is too much of a risk. It has also been suggested that Europe has scarce resources for experimentation, meaning that all projects must be cost-effective. Meaning that, rather than starting from scratch, Smart Cities will made from tweaking and finding multiple uses for the current infrastructure.€365 million in EU funds for 2013 have been set aside for the development of urban technology. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) will see private businesses and the EU executives gather research from ICT, energy and transport to develop a number of approved projects.

Some projects that are being discussed include silent electric buses that make use of digital technology, satellite technology with the aim of improving traffic flow, a Smartphone app that allows users to reserve alternative fuel rental vehicles and faster charging mechanisms for electric vehicles.

The EU communication said, of the scheme, that improving the efficiency and sustainability of European cities was a vital goal and commitment for 2020 targets. This is due to urban areas consuming 70% of the EUs energy, with 1% of the entire regions GDP goes towards congestion costs.

Neelie Kroes, Commission vice president, responsible for the Digital Agenda, described most cities as “dumb” and that there is a need for them to be converted into smarter, green cities.

Kroes went on to say that introducing new technologies to cities could take a large amount of time due to “strong vested interest and a resistance to breaking down barriers” in sectors such as healthcare, waste management and energy. Many companies may be disinclined to completely overhaul their current systems as it is too much of a risk. It has also been suggested that Europe has scarce resources for experimentation, meaning that all projects must be cost-effective. Meaning that, rather than starting from scratch, Smart Cities will made from tweaking and finding multiple uses for the current infrastructure.