Aiming to ensure the development of trustworthy AI, EU member states, the Commission, and 128 partners have committed €220mn to establish four new testing and experimentation facilities (TEFs) within the bloc.
These TEFs are large-scale physical and virtual facilities, where AI-based software and hardware technologies can be tested in real-world environments.
They will also act as a “safety filter” between emerging digital technologies and European citizens, in turn securing a responsible and society-ready approach to building trustworthy artificial intelligence.
The four TEFs focus on distinct high-impact sectors. These are:
- Manufacturing: The AI-Matters TEF will aim to improve the resilience and flexibility of the European manufacturing sector by employing AI, robotics, and autonomous systems.
- Healthcare: The TEF-Health will involve applications from machine learning in medical imaging, to brain simulations and robotic rehabilitation. It will also target the protection of sensitive data.
- Agriculture and food: The agrifoodTEF will develop AI tools for use across the entire sector, including arable and livestock farming, tree crops, horticulture, and food processing.
- Cities and communities: The Citcom.ai testing facility will focus on power, connectivity, and mobility. Its task is to test AI and robotics before they integrate the spaces where people live and move. This covers everything from self-driving cars to telecoms data retrieval software.
Apart from advancing Europe’s strategic leadership in AI, these TEFs are expected to inform policymakers and contribute to the implementation of the AI Act by supporting regulatory sandboxes and enabling cooperation with national authorities.
All four testing facilities are scheduled to begin operating by January 2024, with the first services running as soon as July 2023.
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