The Netherlands to become a test country for self-driving cars

The Netherlands will become a testing ground for self-driving vehicles. As proposed by Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Council of Ministers approved an amendment of the regulations to enable large-scale tests with self-driving cars and lorries at public roads.

The Cabinet aims to have the Netherlands play a leading role in the development of self-driving vehicles and systems enabling vehicles to communicate with one another and with traffic control centres. The Netherlands has a suitable infrastructure and – with knowledge institutes and the automotive sector – the know-how required to facilitate tests with self-driving vehicles.

Vehicles communicating with one another to simultaneously accelerate or decelerate can improve the flow of traffic. The vehicles can drive in close convoys, which means that the room available on the roads is used much more efficiently. In addition, autonomous vehicles boost traffic safety and they are more economical, which is good for the environment as well as our wallets.

The adopted amendment of the regulations will authorise RDW (public authority in the mobility chain) to grant exemption for large-scale test drives on public roads. Various parties have already expressed their interest in conducting test drives on the Dutch roads. For example, the TNO knowledge institute is preparing a test with autonomous lorries in collaboration with, among others, DAF, the Rotterdam Port Authority and the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics (TLN), while the province of Gelderland and Wageningen University & Research Centre are exploring the possibilities for self-driving vehicles in the Food Valley area.