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.

Autonomous transport should, among other things, improve the accessibility and quality of life in both urban and rural areas and reduce both emissions and fuel consumption. Our knowledge about autonomous travel is extremely valuable, which is why we want to further develop concepts for autonomous transport in all modalities and test concepts that contribute to the liveability and accessibility of the north.

Autonomous transport

Field labs

Field labs are being set up for all modalities. The aim of the field labs is to work towards both certification and the broad use of autonomous transport in daily practice through testing and upscaling. In addition, training and research are also linked to the field labs in order to sustainably safeguard and pass on knowledge and to develop sufficient talent.

The field labs are practice-oriented test locations, where various parties (governments, companies and knowledge institutions) develop, exchange knowledge and test together. Field labs will in any case be established at the new Hive Mobility Center on the Zernike Campus in Groningen (road and general affairs), at Groningen Airport Eelde (air), Eemshaven (water) and the rail route between Buitenpost and De Vork train yard (rail). Later, the European Hyperloop Center near Meerstad (tube) will be added as a field lab.

Knowledge exchange plays a central role in the field labs. The Northern Netherlands is the only region in Europe that already has projects in the field of autonomous transport in all modalities. We do this under the banner of @north, the partnership in the field of autonomous transport in our region. It is precisely the fact that we have initiatives in all modalities and not only devise them but also actually realize them, which makes it particularly interesting to investigate where the similarities and differences between the modalities lie and what they can learn from each other. They all have to go through partly the same development with permits, exemptions, certification, privacy questions, scaling up, business cases and interaction with the environment. On the other hand, they partly use different techniques and the underlying reasons for betting on them are partly different. The Northern Netherlands is the ideal place to investigate this and to further develop it.

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 road and rail initiatives in terms of public transport, in many cases as an initiator and driver of development. The province is also a partner in various initiatives in the air and on the water. Here often more as a facilitating party;
  • robotTUNER is involved as a technical development partner and supplies, among other things, simulation software and risk analysis. RobotTUNER also knows a lot about the certification and permitting 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 track;
  • Qbuzz is involved in road projects as a public transport company;
  • The University of Groningen conducts research into the development of autonomous transport in several areas. Among other things, in the field of legislation, privacy, insurance and other behavioral aspects, but also in the more technical and spatial economic aspects.
Autonomous transport


Financing options are continuously being looked at, such as the Horizon Europe program for example. In addition, there are possibilities for financing from Interreg, especially if cooperation is sought with, among others, Germany. In recent years, contributions from Interreg have already been received by the province of Groningen in two different areas, an attempt 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 with the province itself as the main partner. In addition, there are also opportunities within Shift2Rail for the development of autonomous transport on the rail.