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Artificial Intelligence needs more investment in the EU

by Geny Caloisi
A new report by EIT Urban Mobility reveals that businesses in the EU need better data collection and processing capabilities to reap the full benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). 60% of experts surveyed for the report identified the lack of technical feasibility – the ability of AI solutions to competently carry out tasks – as the most significant barrier to AI solution deployment, followed by poor data availability and quality (50%).

According to industry experts, budget constraints (30%) is the next most important barrier to the development and deployment of AI in Europe, which confirms an earlier analysis by the European Investment Bank stressing the lack of investments in AI at the EU level [2]. Targeted investments to improve European businesses’ collection and processing of data are crucial to catching up with AI leaders in China and the US.

The report builds on a survey of more than 60 European experts in urban mobility, climate, manufacturing, and health. In the mobility sector, AI applications are mostly used for user-centric mobility services [3], traffic and logistics forecasts, on-demand bus services, vehicle tracking on transport networks, or self-driving car technologies such as automated valet parking.

In the wake of AI’s rapid uptake in recent years, industry experts identified cybersecurity (73%), compliance (55%), and personal privacy (55%) as the three top risks arising from AI development and deployment.

To face these risks, European businesses need competent staff equipped with the necessary AI knowledge and skills. One in five experts thinks their company needs to invest more in AI talents and training. 

Dr. Maria Tsavachidis, CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, said: “The Recovery plans are a unique opportunity to strengthen EU’s efforts to leverage the vast opportunities of artificial intelligence and to upskill the workforce. EIT Urban Mobility looks forward to supporting policymakers and business leaders in accelerating AI uptake to provide better citizen-centred mobility services.”

In addition to the Next Generation EU recovery package that will assist Member States’ green and digital transformation, the European Commission proposed in spring 2021 a harmonization of rules for AI , and launched a new EU funding instrument of up to €150 million to support AI early and growth companies in Europe. 

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