Minister Schultz van Haegen invites the international business community

‘The success of smart mobility depends on international cooperation’
Smart mobility solutions, such as autonomous cars, can contribute significantly to the enhancement of sustainable mobility, free-flowing traffic and greater traffic safety. During the Dutch Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016, Minister Schultz van Haegen places the topic on the European political agenda for the first time, in the European Transport Council. Minister Schultz van Haegen stated: ‘It is our ambition to lead the way in Europe in the field of smart mobility. At the same time, we want to invite the international business community to develop smart mobility initiatives and activities in the Netherlands.’

Smart mobility contributes to improved accessibility, safety and sustainability. In addition, mobility and a sound infrastructure are of crucial importance to the Dutch economy, as Minister Schultz emphasized: ‘That is why I continue to invest heavily in our infrastructure. But if we are to remain a world leader in logistics in the future, it is equally important that we work on smarter forms of accessibility. The Netherlands has all the right ingredients: a dense, compact road network, an automotive sector, and lots of knowledge institutions. This makes our country the ideal testing ground for all kinds of new technologies. The EU Truck Platooning Challenge, Amsterdam Practical Trial, and Cooperative ITS Corridor Rotterdam-Vienna are no isolated events. They illustrate the Netherlands’ ambition to lead the way when it comes to innovative mobility.’

International challenge

Minister Schultz is firmly convinced that efforts to develop smart mobility should by no means be a matter of national perspective only. ‘I think it is equally important that we get to grips with innovative mobility at an international level as well. We face several challenges. An entirely new technology brings many opportunities, but also raises many questions. The first one that comes to mind is the uniformity of systems behind the smart, self-driving car. When we take our self-driving cars across the border, we will want them to be able to communicate with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure as well.’

More than just technology

This involves more than just answers to technical questions, as Minister Schultz explained. We will also need to reach international agreements on issues in the field of liability, safety and privacy. ‘It is not just about technology. It is also about pushing boundaries, learning by doing and the need for international cooperation. There are some complex questions to which we do not have the answers yet, but this complexity should not stop us from pushing forward.’

Knowledge exchange, opportunities and mutual cooperation

Responding to the question as to why it would be attractive for foreign companies to work on smart mobility in the Netherlands, Minister Schultz said: ‘The Netherlands is, and always has been, a country of knowledge exchange, opportunities, and mutual cooperation. The opportunities that smart mobility presents in the Netherlands are promising in commercial terms. To capitalize fully on the field’s strengths and opportunities, I invite you to talk with leading smart mobility companies and institutions. Some of the country’s regions, like Helmond and Amsterdam, have considerable smart mobility experience in terms of use, product development, manufacturing, research, new business development, and funding models. Interesting projects are being conducted nationally and internationally, funded by companies, knowledge institutions, national authorities, and the European Union, among others. I hope to welcome you into our community soon!’