Self-driving car takes to Dutch roads for the first time

The era of self-driving cars has dawned in the Netherlands. With the first test drive of autonomous cars on a public road, Minister Schultz van Haegen (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) thinks an important step has been taken towards the large-scale deployment of new car technologies that can contribute to improving the flow of traffic and traffic safety on the road.

Minister Schultz van Haegen: ‘With these self-driving cars, we have ourselves a magnificent innovation. If cars can communicate with one another and accelerate or brake at the same time, you can prevent the jerky movements of traffic on the road and thus produce a smoother flow of traffic. These cars can also drive closer together in a line safely and thus utilise the available space on the roads much more efficiently. This is particularly beneficial in a densely populated country with a crowded road network. Owing to our intricately structured road network and the presence of considerable technological know-how, the Netherlands is the ideal laboratory in which to test these types of cars.’

The cars that drove on the A10 motorway today were developed by DAVI, the Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative. This is a joint venture involving TNO, Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Department of Road Transport, among others. Through the project, DAVI hopes to make automatic driving accessible and widely deployable. The aim is to develop a user-friendly system that can be built into both new and existing cars. DAVI will accomplish this in close collaboration with the business community, government and knowledge institutions. 

Yesterday’s test drive took place in the context of the Innovation Relay (Innovatie-estafette) of the Dutch Government held in the in RAI Amsterdam congress centre, which Minister Schultz officially opened this morning. During this event, top-level researchers and innovative entrepreneurs will meet one another. The event will also serve as a venue for technological breakthroughs in urban power supply, the sustainable use of raw materials and green transport to be exhibited.