Self-driving cars may test on Dutch roads
The Dutch government wants to have large-scale testing with autonomous cars on Dutch roads, and thereby assume a 'pioneers role' in the development of this kind of technology, NU.nl reports. Minister Melanie Schultz of Infrastructure has sent a letter to Parliament in which she outlines the positives of having self-drive cars on the roads, and wants to do further tests to calculate the feasibility of this. She will send a proposal at the start of 2015 asking to amend the rules to make large-scale testing on Dutch roads possible. She promises to announce at the end of this year under what conditions self-driving cars may drive on the roads, and where this will be allowed. For now, there are some limited rules involving robot cars. Parking and driving in traffic jams is allowed to be done automatically, but other functions are not yet allowed. Of course, some further research is needed before the proposal is presented. Minister Schultz is having research done into liability, driving proficiency requirements and privacy. The minister does say that the self-driving car will have a positive effect on safety in traffic on busy Dutch road networks, and emphasizes the self-driving car's economical superiority, "which is good for man and environment", the minister says. Already, experiments have begun with self-driving cars. Research institute TNO wants to work together with DAF, the Harbor Company Rotterdam and employers' organization Transport and Logistics Netherlands to test the attainability of having self-driving trucks, driving in train-formation. These parties want to bring a new technique to the market that would see such truck-trains driving on the open roads. They hope to attain this within five years. For minister Schultz, the possibilities for The Netherlands are exciting. "The age of the self-driving car has begun. The developments in this area will change the relationship between driver and vehicle more in the next twenty years than has happened in the last hundred years", Schultz says. The minister wants The Netherlands to spearhead and lead developments in the technology.
Researcher Riender Happee of Delft University of Technology told NU.nl at the start of this year that un-trained Dutch people will take to the road in autonomous cars next year already. TU Delft is part of the Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative (DAVI) which hopes that the cars will take the number of fatal traffic accidents down to zero.