The EU is launching a major investment for a total of DKK 1.65 billion to accelerate the development of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe. A consortium led by DTU (Technical University of Denmark), We Build Denmark, and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) will lead a new major EU project to build a permanent facility that will give companies access to test AI-based products. The facility brings together the strongest parties in the field within the EU and covers 11 EU countries from the start.
The background is the EUs investment in promoting responsible artificial intelligence. The Danish partnership - CitCom.ai - has won the task of building a Testing and Experimentation Facility (TEF) for companies that offer AI-based products for smart cities and communities in both software and hardware. In this way, companies can save development time and costs, and the applicants - for example, the Danish municipalities - can try out often complex AI-based products in advance. This means faster innovation and better competitiveness based on responsibility and safety in artificial intelligence in the EU, which is the world's largest market.
“Artificial intelligence has become mainstream, and ChatGPT has blown most people away with the opportunities for automation. But what happens when AI does not just generate text and stays inside the computer and on the web, so to speak, but starts to interfere in the physical world and in our lives, for example in drones, robots, cars, buildings, and infrastructure? We need to be able to understand, explain, control, and protect the systems before we can unleash them. There is an urgent need to build that capacity so that we can take advantage of the benefits that digital technologies give us. That is why it is important that we as a society put significant effort into securing the future," says Martin Brynskov, PhD and Senior Researcher at DTU Compute and Head of the DTU Smart Communities Centre.
DI is involved in the TEF to give Danish companies increase the competitiveness of in a growing market for AI-based products.
"We need to be able to understand, explain, control, and protect the systems before we can unleash them. There is an urgent need to build that capacity so that we can take advantage of the benefits that digital technologies give us."Martin Brynskov, PhD and Senior Researcher at DTU Compute and Head of the DTU Smart Communities Centre.
“The TEF means that we in the EU create a fast-track for testing AI-based products. Through the TEF, we can help SMEs that integrate AI into their products get through the demanding testing phase. In addition, today we also establish a new association, TEF DK, which is an open framework for providers of testing and trial facilities for AI and robots in Denmark, so that we can bring the ecosystem together,” says Andreas Holbak Espersen, Head of Digitization Policy at DI Digital.
“At We Build Denmark, we are proud to already run Europe’s largest living lab for Smart City technologies, DOLL. It is a milestone for Danish and European development within the Smart City area that DOLL will now become a central part of the European Testing and Experimentation Facility so that we can support Danish companies even better in developing AI-based products and solutions,” says Christina Melvang, Director of We Build Denmark - an industry cluster for digitization in the built environment.
The TEF should be seen in the context of other legislation that is on its way from the EU, which similarly aims to promote the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence, including the AI Act, the AI Liability Directive, and the Interoperable Europe Act. In particular, the TEF must help to ensure speed in innovation and a high level of competitiveness for European companies while at the same time ensuring the ethical and responsible use of AI-based products in municipalities and regions.
The other Danish participants in the consortium are Gate21, Aarhus Municipality/GovTechMidt, the Danish Technological Institute, Center Denmark, and the newly founded association TEF DK, which is an open framework for Danish providers of testing and trial facilities for AI and robots.
From the start, the TEF has 33 partners from 11 countries in the EU with a total budget of DKK 300 million over five years, but the intention is that the testing facility will continue on a commercial basis afterward. The TEF is one of four European TEFs. The other three cover production, health, and agriculture and food.