As of today, companies working on autonomous and smart cars can test their initiatives on the public road between the cities of Helmond and Tilburg (The Netherlands). Seventy kilometres of highway and several local roads are dedicated as test area. Companies can enlist as of today to make use of this urban mobility testing area.
Car companies which are developing cars which communicate via wireless internet can use these roads as testing ground, as well as telecom operators which want to provide tailor made traffic information. It is a full service, real life testing area.
Wifi beacons and smart, data-driven traffic lights
One example is the so-called ‘Truck platooning‘. Truck Platooning comprises a number of trucks equipped with state-of-the-art driving support systems – one closely following the other. This forms a platoon with the trucks driven by smart technology, and mutually communicating.
Platooning will improve traffic safety, with the following trucks braking immediately. Platooning is also a cost-saver as the trucks drive close together at a constant speed. This means lower fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. And, lastly, platooning efficiently boosts traffic flows thereby reducing tail-backs. Meanwhile the short distance between vehicles means less space taken up on the road.
Traffic on these roads is monitored by traffic control at Automotive Campus Helmond. Monitoring is being done by wifi beacons and smart traffic lights.
Companies who want to join in the project can only dos by complying to strict regulations and agreements with the local authorities. It is not easy to join in the project.
The aim of this project is to minimize traffic going downtown and to find a smart way to provide supplies into the city and package deliveries.
Autonomous cars on public roads: is it safe?
Last weekend, Uber stopped a test with self driving cars due to a traffic accident in Arizona. So how can this test be safe? Carlo van de Weijer, director of SmartMobility at the University of Eindhoven, ensures the safety of this test. “As long as there is a person present and responsible in the car, self driving cars will be as safe, or safer, as normal cars.”
New technological inventions will make cars safer and safer in time, but it will take years before autonomous cars will be able and allowed to drive unguarded on public roads. And when technology is ready, legislation needs to be adapted.
This urban mobility testing area is a result of public private collaboration, called MobilityMovez. Have a look at this video for more details of the project: