First Belgian test with 30 semi-autonomous vehicles was successful Sep 15, 2016
Prof. dr. Tom BRIJS
The platoon test – executed for the first time in Belgium – went smoothly. The test of insurance broker and risk advisor AON is intended to bring the introduction of autonomous driving one step closer. For each car, the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB, UHasselt) collected data about speed, acceleration and braking behaviour and examined how driving assistance technologies interact with the environment. “Excellently”, according to the first results. “No dangerous situations occurred.”
Thirty semi-autonomous vehicles of different car brands drove in columns of five from Diegem to Bornem. The platoontest is an initiative of insurance broker and risk advisor AON and is intended to map the extent to which driving assistance technology such as Emergency Brake Assist Systems, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) can improve road safety. Car constructers Audi, BMW, Mazda, Mercedes, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and Tesla put their cars to AON’s disposal.
“The fact that many car brands participate, makes the platoontest interesting, because those cars can have different settings with respect to following distance, braking behaviour and acceleration, etc.”, said prof. Dr Tom Brijs in VTM news. For each car, the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB, UHasselt) collected data about speed, acceleration and braking behaviour. “We use these data to examine the driving behaviour within the platoon as well as the behaviour of the platoon when another vehicle merges in or out and thus interrupts the platoon.”
First results: driver assistance technologies do their job well
The platoons drove in different traffic situations: on the Brussels ring, on the A12 motorway and on the regional road N16. No dangerous situations occurred. The driver assistance technologies supported the drivers and adapted well to the traffic situation such as dense traffic with varying speeds. The drivers however advise to remain attentive: “As a driver, you still need to assess the extent to which the driver assistance technology is helpful. We had to brake or accelerate now and then.” AON will publish the entire report in the second half of October and will link the results to the introduction of autonomous driving.
Vehicle technology can improve road safety
Advanced vehicle technology offer fascinating perspectives to improve road safety, thinks Flemish minister for Mobility and Public Works Ben Weyts. “If you know that human errors cause 90% of all road crashes, then you realize that smart vehicle technology can decrease the number of road crashes. Computers are better drivers than us humans. They don’t drink, make less mistakes, follow the rules, aren’t easily distracted and their reaction time is a lot faster.”