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Slovenia, Austria, Hungary to create driverless region

The Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič, Austrian Transport, Innovation and Technology Minister Norbert Hofer and Hungarian Minister for National Economy Mihaly Varga. Slovenia, Austria and Hungary signed in Budapest a memorandum of understanding on cross-border cooperation in developing and testing electric, integrated and autonomous vehicles. "The future is here. By signing this agreement we've opened the door to it. I am happy that Slovenian companies and research centres will take part in this pioneering endeavour," said minister Gašperšič at the signing ceremony. The signing ceremony was also attended by European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, the Slovenian member of the EU Commission.

The minister pointed out that the memorandum will give the signatories the opportunity to expand their cooperation as it encourages the exchange of best practice, scientific cooperation, pilot projects and legislation harmonisation, and added that "this will be done with the aim to offer our citizens better mobility, not only within each country, but beyond their borders."

The goals of the memorandum are the encouragement, harmonization and strengthening of legal, social, economic, technical and institutional processes on cross-border cooperation in developing and testing electric, integrated and autonomous vehicles. Most notably, the memorandum advocates creating conditions to establish an Austrian-Hungarian-Slovenian driverless region, which facilitates the expansion of new mobile technologies and vehicles.
 
The signatories maintain that digitalisation and decarbonisation are key to the future system of mobility, which must be safe, efficient and environmentally and socially sustainable. Technological advances in areas of cooperative intelligent traffic system (C-ITS), integrated and automated driving and e-mobility are of utmost importance in facing the challenges related to mobility systems, such as increased congestion, changing mobility needs and increase of traffic related emissions.
 
The signatories agree that such cross-border cooperation is a must and welcome the cooperation already in place: the letter of intent on cooperation and partnership between Automotive Proving Ground Zala Ltd. in Hzngaryand the testing environment Alp.Lab GmbH in Austria (Light Vehicle Proving Region for Automated Driving).

Gašperšič also outlined that Slovenia is already including sustainable mobility in the e-mobility measures and projects that are part of the EU's cohesion policy. Cases of good practice include sustainable parking policies, institutions' mobility plans, green city logistics and training for sustainable mobility. Moreover, under the initiative Slovenia - Green Reference Country in Digital Europe the ministries for infrastructure and public administration have already launched a pilot project of electrical vehicles Avant2Go car sharing.