Self-driving vehicles to hit the roads

In the near future, self-driving vehicles with no driver on board will be seen on Dutch public roads. The cabinet, acting on a proposal made by Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, has adopted a bill which will make it possible to conduct experiments with self-driving vehicles without a driver being physically present in the vehicle.

The Experimenteerwet zelfrijdende auto (law governing the experimental use of self-driving vehicles) removes legal impediments and manufacturers will have more opportunities to conduct tests involving self-driving vehicles.

Minister Schultz (Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment): ‘The Netherlands is taking a significant step towards the introduction of self-driving vehicles. In our country, we have the ideal combination of good, smart infrastructure, intelligent researchers and an innovative high-tech business community. Together, we can seize the chance to make the mobility solutions of the future a reality.’

Driverless-vehicles can mean a great deal in terms of mobility: they can drive more closely behind one another so that road capacity is better utilized. Moreover, since the vehicles can communicate with each other, traffic will flow more smoothly. And, traffic will also become safer: currently, some 90% of road accidents are caused by human error. In addition, self-driving vehicles are more economical to use which makes them good for the wallet and the environment.

Last month, 26 EU member states made agreements on setting up, as quickly as possible, large-scale testing of self-driving vehicles. The tests will involve, among other things, truck platooning and vehicles that communicate data to one another in order to drive on automatic pilot. The first tests are expected to take place at the end of this year, or early in 2018. The various countries and manufacturers also agreed with each other that self-driving vehicles should be able to cross borders in 2019.