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Testing and Experimentation Facilities under the Digital Europe Programme

To achieve the European Artificial intelligence (AI) strategy’s aim to optimise development and deployment of AI, the European Commission introduced AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities (TEFs) in the Digital Europe programme.

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These TEFs will be specialised large-scale reference sites open to all technology providers across Europe to test and experiment state-of-the art AI-based soft-and hardware solutions and products, including robots, in real-world environments, and at scale. This effort is an important step to bring technology to market and improve a higher uptake of AI in Europe. 

TEFs will also be an important part of building the AI ecosystem of excellence and of trust in Europe as laid out in the AI White Paper from February 2020. On the one side, TEFs will give regions a further boost in attracting funding to upgrade its facilities and also attracting innovative players to collaborate with its own champions. On the other side, TEFs will contribute to more trustworthy AI made in Europe. 

To optimise investment and avoid duplication or competing efforts, the Commission foresees to co-fund (through Digital Europe Programme) with Member States a limited number of specialised large-scale reference sites to serve the needs of European technology providers. The TEFs will focus on four sectors – manufacturing, healthcare, agri-food and smart cities and communities – as well as on edge AI as a technology.

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 support regulatory sandboxes by setting up a dialogue with competent national authorities for supervised testing and experimentation under real or close to real conditions.

On the right of the website, links with more information on past workshops on TEFs are provided.

We provide an FAQ document on sectorial Testing and Experimentation Facilities (TEFs) under the Digital Europe Programme (DEP), which serves to clarify the concept and process to the wider community. The questions are based on the interactions with stakeholders. It is a live document and will be updated as needed.

Presentation at the "Leading the Digital Decade" event of 2 June 2021 - TEFs start at 1h08
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