The Northern Netherlands is the European front runner when it comes to testing autonomous transport. It is the only region where road, rail, air and water tests are conducted using autonomous transport.

Our knowledge of autonomous travel is extremely valuable, which is why we want to further develop concepts for autonomous transport in all modes and test concepts that contribute to the liveability and accessibility of the north.

Autome shuttle van Navya bij Ommelander Ziekenhuis Groningen.
Autonomous transport

Main theme

The main theme for autonomous transport in 2020 is the exchange of knowledge between the different modes. The Northern Netherlands is the only region in Europe that already has autonomous transport projects in all modalities. We are doing this under the banner of @north, the partnership in the field of autonomous transport in our region. The very fact that we have initiatives on all modalities and not only devise them but actually realize them, makes it particularly interesting to investigate where the similarities and differences between the modalities are and what they can learn from each other. They all have to go through roughly the same development with permits, certification, privacy questions, upscaling, business cases and interaction with the environment. On the other hand, they partly use different techniques and the underlying reasons for investing are partly different. The Northern Netherlands is the ideal place to investigate and further develop in this field.

Autonome Renault Twizy en  autonome shuttle Navya.
Autonomous transport

Involved partners

The following partners are engaged in autonomous transport within Hive.Mobility.

  • The province of Groningen is involved in all initiatives on road and rail in terms of public transport, in many cases as initiator and driver of the development. The province is also a partner in various initiatives in the air and on water. Here often more as a facilitating party.
  • RobotTUNER is involved as a technical development partner and provides simulation software and risk analysis, among other things. RobotTUNER also knows a lot about the certification and licensing process. In addition, robotTUNER also has an advisory role in the development of autonomous transport.
  • As a public transport company, Arriva is involved in several projects on the road and also in all tests on the train track.
  • Qbuzz is involved as a public transport company in road projects.
  • The University of Groningen conducts research into the development of autonomous transport in several areas. Among others in the field of legislation, privacy, insurance and other behavioural aspects, but also in the more technical and spatial economic aspects.
Autonomous transport


Preparations are being made to start an application for the Horizon Europe program starting in 2021. The application emphasizes the cooperation and knowledge exchange between the modalities and the certification process of autonomous transport. After all, European or worldwide standards will have to be made for this. There are various options within Horizon Europe to receive a subsidy for this. The province of Groningen and robotTUNER are leading this request, several other partners are joining in on this. Partners outside the region are also being sought to participate.

In addition, there are possibilities for financing from the Interreg, especially if cooperation is sought with Germany, among others. In recent years, contributions from Interreg have already been received by the province of Groningen in two different areas, one for a project on knowledge exchange between European regions on autonomous road transport (ART-Forum project) with Bremen as lead partner, and one on the possibilities of inductive charging (Contactless charging project) with the province itself as lead partner. In addition, Shift2Rail also offers opportunities for the specific development of autonomous rail transport.