The FIA believes three basic principles must be respected when developing and using this emerging technology: consumers’ freedom of choice; fair competition; and data protection.

Although Bangsgaard says European standards would increase the technology’s market penetration, he believes consumer protection also needs to be part of the discussion from the beginning.

The ACEA agrees. For Secretary General Erik Joannaert, there are still some outstanding issues regarding privacy, data protection, driver distraction and liability.

“The European automobile industry invests a large portion of its €32 billion ($44 billion) of its research and development budget into research into connected cars and related ITS projects,” he says.

“(The) ACEA believes that vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) networking are two of many vital components for a future safer, more efficient and sustainable transport system.”

The European automakers organization acknowledges much of the technology still is being developed, but Jonnaert says significant infrastructure investment and a certain level of vehicle and infrastructure deployment will be needed for it to work.

Philippe De Backer, a Liberal member of the European Parliament who serves on the institution’s transport committee, believes such intelligent transport systems could give the EU auto industry a key technical edge “to keep up with countries like Japan and the U.S.”

But another transport committee member, Conservative Reformist Peter Van Dalen of the Netherlands, is concerned about potential privacy abuses. “I do not desire a system which, in theory, exactly knows where I drive at any moment,” he says.

The FIA’s Bangsgaard predicts the auto industry likely will see new models of car ownership, such as car sharing, that will “fundamentally change the way consumers interact with their vehicles.”

The federation believes that like the booming smartphone-app business, vehicle telematics will have great potential to generate new business and offer consumers a range of useful services. But the FIA does not think the technology necessarily will result in increased sales of automobiles.

“It may mean that the sales (will) shift from the vehicle itself to the provision of services and applications for that vehicle,” Bangsgaard says. “It also opens the door to additional service providers to develop applications. We will likely see new players emerge in this field, leading to opportunities and high-tech jobs for Europeans.”