The first international workshop in the framework of the FOT- Net project was successfully held on 20 November this year, after the ITS World Congress in New York. The workshop attracted more than 50 participants from Europe, US and Japan. FOT-Net is a support action under contract of the European Commission to network Field Operational Test activities at European, national and international levels. Various activities are currently organised in the framework of this project. One action is to network FOT activities at International level. The workshop aimed to bring international FOT stakeholders together to discuss common working items and possible cooperation.
The workshop highlighted the need of the different regions (Japan, US and Europe ) to cooperate on various common issues, such as data handling and sharing, methods and deployment issues. Firstly, discussions were held on methodology items, such as the formulation of shared research questions and the definition of structural data formats for exchange of data. Due to the high cost of FOTs, especially in the current economic context, the participants also highlighted the importance to consider the use and exchange of substitute measures. Secondly, the exchange of data as a scientific endeavour for FOT organisers was largely approved, even if practical implementation of this data exchange raises many issues. To facilitate data exchange, it was suggested to develop a common Minimum Set of Data and standard tools to analyse this data. Thirdly, the audience discussed the use of FOT results to trigger deployment of the technologies tested, and suggested to exchange specific and successful examples and business cases of FOTs.
The workshops participants concluded that there is a need for more in-depth discussions between researchers who have the practical experience of implementing FOTs to share experiences and solve common problems. The organisation of some more concrete workshops at international level was a way to cooperate on more specific well defines items. European stakeholders have initiated this process with the in the FOT-Net seminars. These seminars could be scaled at international level.
Last but not least, officials took the opportunity to announce the endorsement of an International Collaboration Agreement between US DoT RITA and the European Commission DG INFSO. The agreement unlocked funding opportunities supporting, among other topics, international FOT cooperation. Concretely, European activities are funded by DG INFSO and US activities funded by US DoT under a joint project. Also, other possibilities do exist such as additional funding for existing activities.
The full report of the workshop are available on www.fot-net.eu