72 km/h without an operator on board
by Jorrit Kuipers
It has been possible for the first time to drive a small passenger car without a driver at high speed (72 kilometers per hour) and bring it to a standstill remotely. The ride took place this autumn during a test day of the province of Groningen and robotTUNER, partners of hive.mobility, a network organization that deals with smart and innovative solutions for traffic and transport.
Autonomous driving car
During this test day, the province and robotTUNER used an old runway at Groningen Airport Eelde, together with DroneHub GAE, to try out new autonomous (self-driving) techniques. A Renault Twizy was used on the test day. The driverless car reached a maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour and was then remotely stopped. The Twizy also managed to stop in time for a crossing robot without a driver.
Driving at such a high speed and without a flight attendant has never been seen 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 traveling at a speed of about 15 kilometers per hour and always with a flight attendant on board. As a result, these vehicles are not yet suitable for use for public transport, for example to supplement existing lines in rural areas.
Reliable and interaction
After the successful test with driving at high speed 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 at the forefront in Europe when it comes to testing with autonomous transport. It is the only region where tests are carried out on the road, on the track, in the air and on the water.