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    Self-driving cars to be tested in Antwerp from 2019

    © Belga
    The Flemish Minister for Innovation, Philippe Muyters, says of the self-driving vehicle pilot, “With this project, we are placing ourselves at the forefront of Europe.”
    © Belga

    Antwerp is one of the five European cities chosen to test self-driving cars. This is reported today in the Gazet van Antwerpen publication. Several traffic lanes on the Antwerp ring-road, between Borgerhout and Deurne, and at the E313 Interchange in Ranst, will by 2019 be fitted with sensors. These will transmit information to self-driving vehicles.

    These vehicles will be able to adapt to traffic on the given road and thus reduce bottlenecks and accidents. The Flemish Minister for Innovation, Philippe Muyters (New Flemish Alliance), is delighted to say, “With this project, we are placing ourselves at the forefront of Europe.”

    The stretches of road affected by the project will be appropriately equipped during this year and next year. This is so that self-driving cars are able to travel on the roads from 2019, through to June 2020. At that point the trial period will end. The Flemish minister explained in the regional newspaper, “Initially, drivers will see little change. Everyone will still be able to use the motorway as normal.”

    Even though in theory, this trial period may mean that self-driving cars could travel in Flanders in 2019, in practice, Philippe Muyters, stated, “there will still be a driver in every vehicle.”

    Antwerp is one of five European cities and regions chosen as testing grounds for such vehicles. The four others are Lyon (France), the motorway between Nuremberg and Munich (Germany), Vigo in Spain and the Rotterdam-The Hague region (the Netherlands). There is a total budget of 20 million euros for this project, of which 3.4 million euros is earmarked for Flanders. The finance is being provided by public authorities and private-partner stakeholders.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times