European regulators and institutions are avidly participating in the global autonomous driving market through various projects and programs, such as IMPACT Connected Car. Initiated in April 2017 and expected to end in September 2019, it is funded within the framework of INNOSUP and part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 agenda.

IMPACT Connected Car is a project offering six-month acceleration programs to start-ups, aiming to respond to societal and industrial challenges and opportunities in the evolving field of connected cars. Other partners of the project include global brands, such as PSA Group, Ferrovial Servicios and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.

The project’s goal is to identify companies with innovative ideas involving wireless chargers, cyber security measures against hackers, smart mobility and zero emission transportation. It aims to select start-ups that will “smartize” their business by collaborating with and learning from corporate, technology and finance experts. In addition to providing mentorship, the project plans to distribute up to €2.1 million equity backing.

Smartization for enhanced mobility

Successful start-ups will be eligible to funding via a three-stage smartization programme, and will obtain up to €60,000 free equity per company. Top start-ups will also have the opportunity to receive private funding of up to €200,000 from participating venture capital funds.

The selected companies will be showcased at top international events organised by 4YFN and Mobile World Capital Barcelona. Eventually, all start-ups will be invited to join a new Connected Car Open Space platform community.

Successful first round guides future development

The first round of IMPACT Connected Car, which ended in early January 2018, provides an opportunity to grasp the current state of the European mobility and connected driving market.

With over 500 participating start-ups and SMEs from 41 countries, IMPACT managed to create a supporting framework for new entrants in a market estimated to reach  €141 billion by 2020. Among the most notable companies in the first call were start-ups from Spain, Poland, Italy and France. In order to facilitate the identification of dynamic business ideas, IMPACT also partnered with CARTRE Project Partner FIA.

Focused on the potential of five automotive clusters in Europe, IMPACT is leading the disruption and market acceptance of innovations in smart driving and urban mobility. The next call for start-ups and SMEs is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

Snezana Sokolovska

Snezana has extensive international background and business media experience. She is covering e-mobility, autonomous vehicles and smart technology at Electric Think.

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