Alnoor M Peermohamed
15:59 17th Jun, 2014
Move Over Self-Driving Car; The Dutch Want Driverless Trucks
How soon could we see the proposed self-driving trucks? Five years if the Dutch have their way.
Dutch officials have unveiled a plan which could see self-driving trucks transporting goods from Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, to other cities in the next five years. The development comes just as Netherlands is reviewing traffic laws to allow for testing of self-driving vehicles on their roads.
Initial testing will begin on computer simulations followed by physical testing on test tracks, says a Reuters reports quoting the Infrastructure and Environment Ministry. The goal is to make the technology commercially available within the next five years.
What makes the Dutch proposal for self-driving vehicles different to others is its fixed timeline. While auto companies have all publicised that the technology will be ready by 2020, no one has really put anything down in writing, possibly due to the resistance they could face from governments and insurance agencies.
The announcement comes just a month after tech giant Google unveiled its two-seater self-driven car, of which it plans to manufacture 200 units within the next one year.
The other key highlight of the proposal by Dutch officials could put Netherlands at the heart of the self-driving revolution. While most other European countries are also scrambling to change traffic laws for allowing testing on public roads, with government support car manufacturers could turn to the Dutch.
The other major difference is the focus on using the technology for vehicles other than cars. While Google may have created a small (most likely not affordable) car, most other manufacturers will find it far too expensive to offer the technology on smaller car models.
The Dutch on the other hand are looking to use the technology in transportation of goods, but aren't shying away from supporting self-driving cars either. Ideally, the technology will remain the same regardless of the vehicle it is used in.
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