Officials in the Netherlands are taking steps to position the country as a center for automotive technical innovation and autonomous driving.
In hopes of shifting the nation’s focus to new-generation technologies, the Dutch government intends to ban the sale of all gas and diesel-fueled cars starting in 2025.
Earlier this year the Dutch government approved the Autonomous Vehicles (Trials) Bill to give manufacturers more opportunities to test driverless autonomous vehicles on the country’s public roads.
More than 30 pilot programs for self-driving vehicles already have launched on Dutch roads, and the first large-scale tests are expected to commence by early 2018.
“Three to four years ago we saw this as high potential,” says Edwin Nas, deputy project leader for self-driving vehicles at the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure & the Environment.
“Software companies have become Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and self-driving has become a main part of the motor industry’s strategy,” Nas says. “That wasn’t the case just four years ago. Industry insiders tell me that even a year ago, they wouldn’t have expected to see things moving as quickly as they are.”
The country has just one independent manufacturing plant, Nedcar, which produces the Mini and – soon – the BMW X1. But the Dutch government believes it can play a key role in changing European and global transport, with Holland reaping economic benefits in the process.
“In this country, we have the ideal combination of sophisticated, intelligent infrastructure, smart researchers and innovative high-tech companies,” says Dutch infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz. “Together we can seize opportunities to put transport mobility solutions into practice.”