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First test of self-driving car on European public road

The first test drive, involving 50 semi-autonomous cars in rows of six being allowed to determine speed and distance from one another on the A2 in The Netherlands, is complete. In Europe semi-autonomous cars have never driven on a public road in normal traffic. The test is an initiative of insurer and risk consultancy firm Aon, Business Lease Nederland, Royal HaskoningDHV and Prodrive Training.

More than 50 semi-autonomous cars test intelligent vehicle systems on the A2

The test is a step forward in charting the benefits and risks of cars with a high degree of autonomy. Vincent Peeters, Managing Director of Business Lease Nederland: ‘The majority of traffic accidents are the result of human error. The advent of increasingly intelligent technologies, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assistant, is reducing the chances of people being involved in accidents. And so we are extremely proud to be the first in Europe to have managed to test these intelligent vehicle systems on public roads. It brings us a step closer to boosting traffic safety.’

Investing in technology saves lives
The introduction of the self-driving car to the public roads is now primarily a matter of awaiting amendments to European legislation and regulations (including privacy regulations). Peeters anticipates that we will be seeing the first fully autonomous cars on the motorway within a few years. ‘Besides the fact that the self-driving car will contribute to traffic safety, the driver support technologies will mean you’ve got all the time in the world to catch up on your emails or prepare for a meeting. All without having to touch the steering wheel.’

In order to ensure that the self-driving car is a realistic prospect for the near future, the leasing company has joined forces with Aon to look into the possibility of offering driver support technologies to its customers free of charge. Peeters: ‘As a leasing company we are looking beyond simply supplying a car. These types of innovation are making the roads a safer place for drivers. And that saves not only lives but also money. Which is why we’re support the further development of the self-driving car.’