Flanders not ready for self-driving car, says VAB

Summary

The motoring organisation VAB has said that conditions and driver behaviour are not yet right for the adoption of self-driving vehicles, but socialist Joris Vandenbroucke warns against letting consumer attitudes get in the way of industrial development

Netherlands leads way

The Flemish public is not yet ready for the self-driving car, according to Maarten Matienko of the motoring organisation VAB. The Netherlands this week gave the green light to tests of self-driving cars in normal traffic.

The decision puts the Dutch in a leading position for the development of self-driving vehicles, and the VAB warned that Flanders must not allow itself to be left behind. However, the technology as it stands is not ready to be introduced to Flemish traffic conditions.

“The technology has to be absolutely up to scratch for that,” Matienko said. “For the time being there are far too many uncertainties. More pertinent would be a study of traffic streaming, to look at how streaming could have a positive effect on mobility. We still have no insight into those matters.”

Self-driving cars are equipped with precision mapping systems that allow them to detect both immovable and movable objects and get you to your destination all be itself.

The attitude of drivers is also decisive in the adoption of self-driving systems. According to the VAB, these systems take away too much choice and initiative from motorists and, were they to be fitted today, they would be turned off in most cases.

For opposition politician Joris Vandenbroucke, consumer attitudes should not be allowed to get in the way of industrial development. “We have a profile as a cutting-edge region for research and development, and we also have an enormous mobility problem,” the socialist member of the Flemish parliament told the VRT. “The ingredients are all there to allow us to get on board, and offer our unique laboratory for testing. We mustn’t jam on the brakes. Why not go and work with the Netherlands?”

Vandenbroucke intends to put the question to mobility minister Ben Weyts tomorrow at a meeting of the parliament’s mobility committee.

Photo: A Toyota Prius adapted to operate as a Google driverless car on a test course. Photo by jurvetson/Wikimedia

The motoring organisation VAB has said that conditions and driver behaviour are not yet right for the adoption of self-driving vehicles, but socialist Joris Vandenbroucke warns against letting consumer attitudes get in the way of industrial development.

LinkedIn this

Traffic in Flanders

Thousands of commuters and foreigners pass through Brussels and Flanders each day, and the two regions have suffered from heavily congested traffic and long and frequent traffic jams for years – with no end seemingly in sight.
Record - According to the 2013 report from traffic information platform Inrix, Brussels and Antwerp have the most traffic congestion of any city in Europe and North America.
Calendar - October is the worst month of the year for traffic jams.
Causes - Year after year, heavy snowfall and railway strikes lead to monster traffic jams. Heavy congestion, infrastructure works and multi-lane accidents cause the more ordinary daily tailbacks.
1 285

largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres

70

time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours

10 000

traffic diversions in Flanders per year