Belgium is not ready yet for autonomous driving Jan 19, 2017
Patrick De Bleser (5T)
+32 (0) 476 39 54 65
In September 2016, a platoon test was executed for the first time in Belgium. The platoon test of insurance broker and risk advisor Aon was intended to bring the introduction of autonomous driving one step closer. However, numerous obstacles still need to be resolved before introducing autonomous driving. “There is a need for additional training and a uniform operation of the systems.” That is shown by the research results.
Advanced vehicle technology offer fascinating perspectives to improve road safety. Flemish minister for Mobility and Public Works Ben Weyts: “If you know that human errors cause 90% of all road crashes, 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.”
The vehicles that participated in the platoon test, were equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keeping Systems (LKS). Almost every driver stated that they felt safe and comfortable using those systems, after knowing how to correctly handle them. “Familiarity of the driver with these systems is however an asset. An additional training is thus essential”, according to the report. “Which line markings do Lane Keeping Systems detect? How does the system warn the driver: using auditive signals or vibrations? The driver needs to exactly know how these systems work, how and when to use them.” According to Aon, car constructors, importers and dealers can play an important role. “They can give people information and offer them a training to properly use driver assistance systems, when they bought a new car.”
Uniform driver assistance systems
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. Prof. Dr Tom Brijs (IMOB, Hasselt University): “Excellently, because no dangerous situations occurred. However, we did find remarkable variations in reaction speed to changes. Think for example about the time it took the platoon to recover after being interrupted by a merging vehicle. It depends on brand or type of the vehicle.” Aon advises car constructors to gear all systems to one another in order to standardise the operation of these systems.
About the platoon test
Thirty semi-autonomous vehicles of different car brands drove in columns of five from Diegem to Bornem. Car constructors Audi, BMW, Mazda, Mercedes, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and Tesla put their cars to AON’s disposal. The platoon test was an initiative of Aon and was organized in cooperation with the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB, Hasselt University), Carglass®, Prodive Training and Royal Haskoning DHV.