Belgium to test self-drive vehicles on public roads

At the end of this month, a platooning test is to start in Belgium. Convoys of self-drive trucks will travel on public roads, with only the lead vehicle being controlled by a human driver. The rest of the convoy will ‘’drive itself’’. There are to be three convoys of two or three vehicles, and the test will last a week.

With platooning, a series of vehicles drive in line. Only the front one is controlled by a human driver; the vehicles behind it have a self-drive system on board and that system closely follows the first vehicle. There are human drivers on board in all of the vehicles, but they only intervene to operate when necessary.

Equipment

The ‘chasing’ vehicles have several high-tech appliances on board which jointly control the vehicle; these could include radar systems, WiFi and GPS. These appliances enable the trucks to perfectly simulate the movements of the convoy’s leader vehicle at the right time, according to several Belgian media sources.

In the Netherlands, several pilot schemes have already run with self-drive vehicles, including a platooning test, conducted in February of last year, like the one due to commence in Belgium later this month. In addition, a test with the WEpod took place about six weeks ago in Wageningen.  It is planned that, later this year, the self-drive vehicle will shuttle daily between Wageningen University and the train station at Ede-Wageningen.

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Author: Vicky Beresford

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