This section gives an overview of the regulatory framework applicable in the EU in terms of vehicles regulations and road safety, including a deep dive into automated driving related subjects.

The new proposals for regulations are presented, as well as other relevant documents like the guidelines published by different member states or other non-binding official documents.



The Regulatory Framework for homologation in Europe has Directive 2007/46 as its core. This Directive defines all the administrative procedures and technical requirements for type approval for vehicles and components at an EU level. This Directive has been recently amended by Regulation 2018/858 which will replace the current Directive in September 2020.

In addition, the General Safety Regulation has been recently updated in order to include the latest available technologies. This regulation defines the minimum safety features to be fitted in a vehicle for its type approval.

Special attention will be paid to the developments on Cybersecurity and OTA updates as those technologies are closely linked to Automated Driving.

Other areas which are also considered in the European Regulatory Framework are C-ITS to allow road users and traffic managers to share information and use it to coordinate their actions, and also Road Traffic Safety.

  • Type approval framework:
    • Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles. It is known as ‘Framework Directive’.
    • Regulation (EU) 2018/858 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, amending Regulations (EC) No 715/2007 and (EC) No 595/2009 and repealing Directive 2007/46/EC
    • Regulation (EC)  No 78/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, amending Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 2003/102/EC and 2005/66/EC
  • General Safety Regulation:
    • Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units intended therefor
    • Proposal for a regulation on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users, amending Regulation (EU) 2018/… and repealing Regulations (EC) No 78/2009, (EC) No 79/2009 and (EC) No 661/2009
  • Connectivity/C-ITS:
  • Privacy & data protection:
    • Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)



In absence of certification, operations approval through independent assessment of a design safety case and an operations safety case is an intermediate step allowing the industry to move forward with safe and reliable deployments. However, it becomes necessary to create the standards and approaches that will set the specific requirements to be fulfilled to achieve certification in order to ensure the correct behaviour of the system.

Current certification standards are still under strong discussion mainly for SAE Level 2 whereas Level 3 has not really started yet; there is no clear vision on how to proceed for Level 4 and 5. For these levels, it is necessary to develop the regulation and technology in parallel in a harmonized way.

The standards in this section apply at the EU level. The Harmonized C-ITS specifications are focused at the infrastructure to vehicle communications; they will be updated in the website as they will be integrated at the different European countries. Also, communications standards such as ETSI standards or 3GPP releases can be found on the following list:

Harmonized C-ITS Specifications, release 1.4 (C-Roads)
Based on the cooperation with the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium, the harmonised CITS specifications focus on I2V (Infrastructure-to-Vehicle) communication, providing high level C-ITS Day-1 services that are profiled in line with the EC Phase 1 C-ITS Deployment Platform report:

  • RWW – Road Works Warning
  • IVS – In Vehicle Signage
  • OHLN – Other Hazardous Location Notifications
  • GLOSA – Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory.

The published specifications form the basis for the roll-out of infrastructure driven C-ITS services all across Europe and will be extended with each new release. First ITS-G5 implementations are already operational in several C-Roads Platform Member States and will be updated accordingly in the course of the C-Roads implementation initiative.

The harmonised communication profile for C-ITS services is publicly available and can be requested.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is an independent organization that produces standards for ICT-enabled systems, applications & services deployed across all sectors of industry and society. More detail can be found on the organization’s website.

In the discipline of Automotive Intelligent Transport, ETSI addresses the following topics related to communications in vehicles, between vehicles (e.g. car-to-car), and between vehicles and fixed locations (e.g. car-to-infrastructure):

  • Cooperative-ITS (C-ITS) and its evolution to support full autonomous driving  including wireless short range communications (ITS-G5). C-ITS provides connectivity between road participants and infrastructure.
  • Automotive ITS Security: this includes trust and privacy management and certificate formats.
  • Automotive radar
  • Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC)
    DSRC provides communications between the vehicle and the roadside in specific locations (for example toll plazas). Applications such as Electronic Fee Collection (EFC) operates over DSRC.

Intensive links are maintained with the European Commission whose ITS related activities such as the iMobility initiative and the C-ITS Deployment Platform aim to stimulate the deployment of Cooperative ITS. The European Commission standardization request M/453 in the field of information and communication technologies to support the interoperability of Co-operative Systems for Intelligent Transport in the European Community as well as the standardization request M/546 on Intelligent Transport Systems in urban areas stresses this importance

Additional information about the discipline Automotive Intelligent Transport

You can also search for specific ETSI standards

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)

The 3GPP is a standard organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of connectivity standards like 5G.

More information

3GPP has defined a series of testing conditions to reproduce different environmental parameters that vehicles will encounter. These conditions focus on two key parameters:

  • Multipath propagations: Electromagnetic fields propagate in every dimension of the space, reflecting when they reach encounter reflective surfaces (buildings, ground). The radio receptor will receive not only the original radio signal source but a signal continuously modified by the surroundings
  • Signal Fading: Reflecting waves can be both constructive or destructives, thus modifying the original signal in different ways depending of the changing environment.

Electronic Communications Committee (CEPT-ECC)

The Electronic Communications Committee (CEPT-ECC) considers and develops policies on electronic communications activities in European context, taking account of European and international legislations and regulations.

More information

For reference purposes some the most relevant standards in the EC on the field of Intelligent Transport Systems and connectivity are listed:

  • ECC Report 101, Compatibility Studies in the band 5855– 5925 MHz between Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and other systems.
  • ECC Recommendation (08)01, Use of the band 5855-5875 MHz for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
  • ETSI EN 302 571 v2.1.1 Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); Radiocommunications equipment operating in the 5 855 MHz to 5 925 MHz frequency band;
  • ETSI TS 101 539-2 v1.1.1 Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); V2X Applications; Part 2: Intersection Collision Risk Warning (ICRW) application requirements specification
  • 3GPP TS 22.185 Service requirements for V2X services
  • (Under change control) 3GPP TR 37.885 Study on evaluation methodology of new Vehicle-to-Everything V2X use cases for LTE and NR
  • 3GPP TS 24.386 User Equipment (UE) to V2X control function; protocol aspects; Stage 3
  • 3GPP TS 38.522 V0.1.0 NR; User Equipment (UE) conformance specification; Applicability of RF and RRM test cases  (Release 15)
  • 3GPP TS 24.386 User Equipment (UE) to V2X control function; protocol aspects; Stage 3


Guidelines and Strategies

This section includes published reports that include the expert shared vision and the progress towards the definition of different standards for Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility. These guidelines can be of support to:

  • clarify what can be expected from regulators
  • understand the impact of the regulated services
  • understand the convergence among technology deployment and regulation

Guidelines and reports issued within the EU:

  • Final report C-ITS Platform, phase I:
    By endorsing the Final Report of the first phase of the C-ITS Platform on 21 January 2016, the C-ITS Platform achieved its first milestone towards connected and automated vehicles in the EU. The Commission in consequence prepared the European strategy on Cooperative intelligent Transport Systems, based on the recommendations of the platform.
  • Final report C-ITS Platform, phase II:
    This report is the deliverable of the second phase of the C-ITS platform (July 2016 – September 2017) which further develops a shared vision on the interoperable deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility (CCAM) in the European Union. This includes making tangible progress towards the definition of implementation conditions for topics already discussed during the first phase1 , but also recognizes and further investigates the mutual benefits that future CITS services will bring in terms of automation. All members of the C-ITS platform believe that the ultimate goal is the full convergence of all developments under Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM), making use of the digitisation of transport.


Other documents issues by EU members


Policy and Strategies

The European Commission supports the introduction and deployment of CAM on various levels. At a policy level it develops policies, communications, roadmaps, strategies in close collaboration with stakeholders.

  • Official communications:
    • COM(2018) 283 – On the road to automated mobility: An EU strategy for mobility of the future
    • COM (2016) 766 – A European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, a milestone towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility
  • Reports from high level working groups
    • GEAR2030 – High Level Group GEAR 2030 report on automotive competitiveness and sustainability. Published on: 18/10/2017
  • Delegated Acts
    • C(2019) Delegated Regulation – adopted by the European Commission in March 2019 – which aims at stepping up the deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on roads across the European Union (EU)
  • Other strategic pillars: