With a small passenger car that can drive up to 72 kilometers per hour without a driver and is stopped remotely, the province and partners are taking a new step in the development of autonomous transport on the road this autumn.
Hive.Mobility partners province of Groningen and robotTUNER, together with DroneHub GAE, used an old runway at Groningen Airport Eelde to try out new techniques in the field of autonomous transport. A Renault Twizy was used during the test day. The autonomous car reached a maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour and was then stopped remotely. The Twizy also managed, without a driver, to stop in time for a crossing robot.
By conducting trials with different types of vehicles, the province, together with its partners, wants to gain as much experience as possible with autonomous transport on the road in order to accelerate development. Autonomous shuttles, for example, offer opportunities to increase accessibility and quality of life in rural areas.
During the test day, the car was driven at high speed and without a steward. This has never been shown before. Both components are crucial for the development of autonomous transport on the road. Moreover, the technique used is universally applicable. Until now, the tested autonomous shuttles have been operating at a speed of approximately 15 kilometers per hour and always with a steward on board. This is insufficient in terms of the possibilities of using these vehicles for public transport, for example to supplement existing lines in rural areas.
Reliability and interaction
After the successful test of high-speed driving without a driver, work will continue on reliability and interaction with other road users. If the safety of the autonomous technology has been proven, it can also be tested on public roads.
The north of the Netherlands is the European frontrunner when it comes to testing autonomous transport. It is the only region where tests are carried out on the road, on the rail, in the air and on the water. The north is suitable as a test region because of the good infrastructure. A report of an earlier test day on autonomous flying can be found here.
This project has been made possible thanks to a contribution from the EU project ART-Forum (Interreg).