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Dutch Have Plans for Driverless Trucks

TMCnet Feature

June 19, 2014

Dutch Have Plans for Driverless Trucks

By Oliver VanDervoort
Contributing Writer

Self-driving automobiles are starting to become a rather big trend in the technological field. Google’s self-driving cars are just starting to become a reality, and now it appears that the Dutch have plans to have their own self-driving trucks within the next five years. The country has already started initial tests on a closed track and now government officials say the next part of the tests will be done on public roads.

The Dutch seem to be following in the footsteps of California, which has also said it will be allowing self-driving cars on its roadways in the very near future. The country says these trucks could deliver goods from Rotterdam to other Dutch cities within five years if everything goes according to plan. Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port, meaning that these driverless trucks will be hauling quite a bit of stuff back and forth when they get on the road.

The Netherlands has said it is reviewing traffic laws in order to make large-scale testing possible on the public roads. The testing will also continue using computer simulations as a way to make sure that these driverless trucks will be as safe as possible. The Dutch proposal comes just a little over a month after Google (News - Alert) announced it was coming out with the two-passenger self-driving cars. Google says it wants to have about 200 vehicles out on the market within two years.

The Netherlands might be the perfect place to try out something like this, as it has a highly advanced infrastructure and has Europe’s fourth largest airport. "We really want to seek out international partners to see what we can do in this field," said Marianne Wuite, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

The government says it sees nearly countless benefits including the fact that self-driving cars need less space and use asphalt more efficiently. The trucks will also be able to avert traffic jams and reduce accidents. The trucks would be more environmentally friendly.

Edited by Allison Sansone

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