The fact that no car manufacturers have production sites in Luxembourg does not mean that the country has no say in this highly competitive sector. In addition to the fifty or so companies (particularly in the field of equipment) that are present here, the Grand Duchy is directly involved in or concerned by several transnational or European initiatives.
A major project currently under way on autonomous and connected cross-border driving, carried out jointly with the French and German neighbours, is one of the most spectacular examples. The demonstration of the cross-border digital testbed in Schengen last spring made such testing of automotive vehicles, which until then had only existed on paper, come true. And although this project was originally a French-German initiative, Luxembourg’s technological skills quickly brought the country on board.
“This project made it possible to call on the recognised expertise of Luxembourg’s players in the fields of cybersecurity, authentication and trust,” explains Jean Schiltz, Deputy Director Smart Mobility at the Ministry of the Economy. “Some companies are also involved in the development of innovative insurance products covering autonomous vehicles.”
The stakes are high and go well beyond the technological progress of ensuring continuous connectivity on all sides of the border. “The digitisation and automation of transport plays an important role in helping the country to improve road safety, reduce emissions and decrease congestion,” argues Anthony Auert, manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster at Luxinnovation. “The emergence of these new technologies helps to consolidate already well-established companies, but it also attracts start-ups.”
For Luxembourg, international cooperation is a mandatory way forward. It is no coincidence that as a follow-up to the cross-border project, the Ministry of the Economy is one of the countries (alongside the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Finland) behind the creation of the European “Data for Road Safety” working group dedicated to the sharing of road traffic data. This membership is also part of the national data-based innovation strategy.
This is also why the country is involved in the creation of the Pôle automobile européen (PAE) that formally took place at the beginning of the summer. Led by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Grand Est (in France), this cluster, with a budget of €2.2 million, brings together 12 partners (9 operational and 3 methodological) from France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.
This project extends the excellent cross-border collaboration already in place since 2013 within Autoregion, the automotive meta-cluster of the Greater Region. Above all, it broadens the perspectives for Luxembourg players. “Through this cluster, we will increase the cross-border and international visibility of our companies and contribute to their development on the international scene. These are high-performance and interconnected companies in the automotive sector that will continue to support the success of the Greater Region,” says Mr Auert, whose cluster is the Luxembourg representative in the project.
The PAE will hold its first official event on 24 September in Liège, as part of the “Automotive Day” devoted to the themes of life cycle analysis and recycling.
When ISO comes to Luxembourg
A month later, Luxembourg will still be in the international limelight. At the end of October, the country will host a week-long International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group on two new safety standards: ISO 26262 and ISO 21448. The aim is to develop a unified safety standard for all automotive electrical and electronic systems.
This working group focuses on development and validation at the system, hardware and software level, which makes it possible to assess the safety level of products developed when they are operational on the road.
This is the first time that Luxembourg hosts such a meeting, which will bring together around 100 world experts of the highest level representing original equipment manufacturers or suppliers such as Renault, Valeo, Continental, NVDIA, Dyson, Bosch, Daimler, Toyota and Honda. It is an opportunity for them to judge, on the spot, the relevance and importance of the automotive sector in a country that is constantly making progress in this field.