Together with Member States, the Commission is co-funding the TEFs to support AI developers to bring trustworthy AI to the market more efficiently, and facilitate its uptake in Europe. TEFs are specialised large-scale reference sites open to all technology providers across Europe to test and experiment at scale state-of-the art AI solutions, including both soft-and hardware products and services, e.g. robots, in real-world environments.
These large-scale reference testing and experimentation facilities will offer a combination of physical and virtual facilities, in which technology providers can get support to test their latest AI-based soft-/hardware technologies in real-world environments. This will include support for full integration, testing and experimentation of latest AI-based technologies to solve issues/improve solutions in a given application sector, including validation and demonstration.
TEFs can also contribute to the implementation of the Artificial Intelligence Act by supporting regulatory sandboxes in cooperation with competent national authorities for supervised testing and experimentation.
TEFs will be an important part of building the AI ecosystem of excellence and trust to support Europe’s strategic leadership in AI.
The Digital Europe Programme 2023-2024 is proposing a Coordination and Support action (CSA), to apply a cross-sector perspective to all existing sectorial Testing and Experimentation Facilities (TEFs). the action was launched on the 25 April. For more on the information session see our event report page.
The selected TEFs projects started on January 1st 2023. They focus on the following high-impact sectors:
- Agri-Food: project “agrifoodTEF”
- Healthcare: project “TEF-Health”
- Manufacturing: project “AI-MATTERS”
- Smart Cities & Communities: project “Citcom.AI”
Co-funding between the European Commission (through the Digital Europe Programme) and the Member States will support the TEFs for five years with budgets between EUR 40-60 million per project. On 27 June, the European Commission along with Member States and 128 partners from research, industry, and public organisations launched their investment in the four projects.
Artificial Intelligence Testing and Experimentation Facilities for Smart Cities & Communities: Citcom.AI
The new EU-wide network of permanent testing and experimentation facility (TEF) for smart cities and communities will help accelerate the development of trustworthy AI in Europe by giving companies access to test and try out AI-based products in real-world conditions.
By further developing and strengthening existing infrastructures and expertise, CitCom.ai provides reality lab-oriented conditions in test and experimental facilities, relevant for AI and robotics solutions targeting sustainable development of cities and communities. In doing so, Citcom.ai helps European cities and communities in the transition towards a greener and more digital Europe and in maintaining and developing their resilience and competitiveness.
CitCom.ai focuses on three overarching themes:
- POWER targets changing energy systems and reducing energy consumption.
- MOVE targets more efficient and greener transportation linked to logistics and mobility.
- CONNECT serves citizens through local infrastructures and cross-sector services.
These areas support AI and robot-based innovations that promote solutions organised according to the three overarching themes for use cases such as:
- POWER: energy such as local district heating load forecasts; environmental solutions such as adaptive street lighting; cybersecurity, ethics & edge learn.
- MOVE: urban machine learning algorithms such as predicting pedestrian flow, smart intersection such identifying road safety concerns, electro-mobility and autonomous driving.
- CONNECT: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise management, urban development management, water and water-waste management, integrated facility management, delivery management by drones and tourism management.
Citcom.AI is organised as three “super nodes” Nordic, Central and South with satellites and sub-nodes located across 11 countries in the European Union: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Itay. The consortium of 36 partners is coordinated by the Technical University of Denmark. Co-funded by the Digital Europe Programme, the 5-year project started in January with an overall budget of €40 million and is expected to achieve long-term financial sustainability.
The EU project TEF-Health is a network of real testing facilities, such as hospital platforms, both physical infrastructures and data and compute infrastructures, living labs, etc., and laboratory testing facilities that will offer to innovators to carry out tests and experiments of their AI and robotics solutions in large-scale and sustainable real or realistic environments. The consortium is implementing evaluation activities that facilitate market access for trustworthy intelligent technologies, particularly by considering new regulatory requirements (certification, standardization, code of conduct, etc.). TEF- Health will ensure easy access to these evaluation resources (link with digital innovation hubs, etc.).
In doing so, TEF-Health contributes to increasing effectiveness, resilience, sustainability of EU health and care systems; reduce healthcare delivery inequalities in EU; and ensure compliance with legal, ethical, quality and interoperability standards.
A key component of an agile certification process are regulatory sandboxes where all relevant stakeholders can work together to create innovative testing and validation tools for trustworthy AI in medical devices for specific use-cases.
The use-cases are defined in four domains: 1) Neurotec, 2) Cancer, 3) CardioVascular and 4) Intensive Care.
The consortium comprises seven nodes in Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, two associated nodes in Finland and Czechia and the pan-EU structures EBRAINS AISBL, EITHealth and EHDS2 Pilot initiative. The consortium of 51 partners is coordinated by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Co-funded by the Digital Europe Programme, the 5-year project started in January 2023 with an overall budget of €60 million and is expected to achieve long-term financial sustainability.
Artificial Intelligence Testing and Experimentation Facilities for Agrifood Innovation: AgrifoodTEF
Built as a network of physical and digital facilities across Europe, the EU project agrifoodTEF provides services that help assess and validate third party AI and Robotics solutions in real-world conditions aiming to foster sustainable and efficient food production. AgrifoodTEF offers validation tools to innovators so they can develop their ideas into market products and services.
There are five impact sectors: arable farming (performance enhancement of autonomous driving vehicles), tree corps (optimisation of natural resources and inputs for Mediterranean crops), horticulture (finding the right nutrient balance as well as crop and yield quality), livestock farming (improvement of sustainability in cow, pig and paltry farming) and food processing (traceability of production and supply chains).
The use cases include quality crops, agro-machinery, AI conformity assessment, agro ecology in controlled environments, co-creation in agrifood production, HPC for agrifood, AI for arable and farmland machinery, and new frontiers for sustainable farming in the North.
AgrifoodTEF is organised in national nodes (Italy, Germany and France) and satellite nodes (Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Austria). The consortium of 29 partners is coordinated by Fondazione Bruno Kessler. Co-funded by the Digital Europe Programme, the 5-year project started in January 2023 with an overall budget of €60 million and is expected to achieve long-term financial sustainability.
Artificial Intelligence Testing and Experimentation Facilities for Manufacturing Innovation: AI-Matters
The AI-MATTERS project is building a network of physical and digital facilities acrossEurope where innovators can validate their solutions under real-life conditions. The EU-project contributes to increasing the resilience and the flexibility of the European manufacturing sector through the deployment of the latest developments in AI, robotics, smart and autonomous systems.
AI-MATTERS will provide an extensive catalogue of services to innovators in the following key topics: factory-level optimization, human-robot interaction, circular economy and adoption of emerging AI enabling technologies. All consortium members bring their expertise in manufacturing for different sectors such as automotive, space and mobility, textile, recycling, etc.
The AI-Matters network will provide testing and experimentation facilities from companies across Europe at eight locations in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic. The consortium of 25 partners is coordinated by CEA-List. Co-funded by the Digital Europe Programme, the 5-year project started in January 2023 with an overall budget of €60 million and is expected to achieve long-term financial sustainability.