Europe launches massive AI test facilities

Jun 29, 2023

FIWARE Foundation – the non-profit organization that encourages the adoption of open standards using Open Source technologies for the development of smart solutions on a global basis –  became one of the Consortium Partners that have just launched the world-class AI testing and experimental facilities (TEFs) program of four EU projects AI-Matters, TEF-HealthagrifoodTEF and The official launch of the initial four physical and virtual testing facilities across Europe was hosted by – the TEF for Smart Cities and Communities, which is a collaboration between 33 partners in 11 European countries, and support of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) and TEF DK, a non-profit industry organization of TEF providers. FIWARE will play a significant role in the program by helping in the definition of the reference architecture and interoperability mechanisms including Smart Data Models for TEFs.

To ensure that the advent of AI doesn’t conflict with European values and the 450 million EU citizens, the European Commission, more than half of the Member States and 128 partners have allocated €220 million to establish world-class testing and experimental facilities, called TEFs, around Europe. These TEFs will act as filters and safeguards between technology providers and society to ensure that the EU remains the place where AI excellence thrives – from lab to market – in a trustworthy manner for every citizen in Europe and beyond. 

What is a TEF?

TEFs are permanent facilities in the European Union where complex digital technologies can be tested in real-world settings, physically and through simulation: from robots and artificial intelligence to networking protocols and data processing and management.

The easiest way to understand what the TEFs do is to look at them as a sort of safety filter between emerging digital technologies – such as AI, robotics, quantum etc. – and citizens.

This filter – the initial four TEFs – tests these technologies in real-life settings and so-called “living labs” before they reach infrastructure, society, companies, and consumers. The filter aims to turn complex technology with pointy ends into something softer and more society- and human-ready. Into good products, basically. 

That’s what one might expect from any other sector, but these technologies are new, so the TEFs are setting up new and permanent ways to bring AI solutions safely and swiftly to market.

One could also look at the TEFs as a digital version of the Euro NCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test system, which tests the safety of vehicles today.

Four testing facilities handle different areas

The AI testing and experimental facilities program consists of four TEFs: AI-Matters, TEF-HealthagrifoodTEF and that cover such distinct areas as manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and food, and finally, cities and communities

These four testing facilities will be open for business by January 2024, with some services starting already in July 2023.

You can follow the official launch online via this video streaming link.

Consortium Members, official launch of Testing and Experimentation Facility (TEFs), Copenhagen, Denmark.
Consortium Members, official launch of Testing and Experimentation Facility (TEFs), Copenhagen, Denmark.

For more information about the project

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