Preparing for a driverless future
The Netherlands is the world’s most prepared country to welcome self-driving vehicles, according to a new ranking. Professional services company KPMG’s 2019 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index placed the Netherlands top of its table, which measures 25 countries’ level of preparedness for autonomous vehicles. The index looked assesses countries on different measures spread across four pillars: consumer acceptance, policy and legislation, infrastructure and technology and innovation. Singapore, which has partnered with a local university to create an elaborate test town for driverless vehicles, came in second place.
Currently, the Netherlands is teaming with neighbouring countries to create a platoon of autonomous trucks led by a single driver-controlled vehicle to transport flowers to Antwerp and the Ruhr valley. However, the popularity of cycling will continue to present a challenge for autonomous vehicles in the country, particularly in busy urban areas.
Keeping cyclists safe
Driverless cars use multiple cameras or laser-sensing systems to detect other road users, allowing them to stop if someone or something is in their path. However, cyclists vary in size and agility and can suddenly change speed or decide to ignore the rules of the road, which could make it difficult for driverless cars to spot them.
To keep people safe, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, the Dutch infrastructure minister, has announced self-driving cars will require a special license that will be used to certify new autonomous vehicles. The government is also preparing legislation regarding self-driving cars to prevent accidents. In KPMG’s report, Stijn de Groen, an automotive expert at the firm, said it would be best for the Dutch government to focus on motorways rather than city streets. “We have a lot of bicycles,” he said. “In urban, crowded areas it will be very difficult to start autonomous driving.”
Smart mobility in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s smart mobility sector is rapidly growing to meet the city’s needs for innovative transportation. Electric cars and scooters make it easier to travel quickly while minimising pollution, and vehicle sharing allows people to access a convenient mode of transport for a limited period. Smart parking is also helping drivers quickly locate available spots, saving them time and preventing them from burning additional fossil fuels.