The Netherlands will make Smart Mobility the central theme of the Informal Transport Council during the 2016 EU Presidency. This reflects the belief that real progress demands far more intensive international cooperation between the European Commission, EU member states and industry. In line with the ambition of supporting progress in this field, the Netherlands not only changed national legislation to facilitate testing on public roads, but also aims to contribute at this European level.
European cooperation on this theme is important for several reasons. Each country seeks answers to complex issues around the consequences of autonomous and cooperative driving; these include liability, privacy, and safety. When it comes to legislation, this approach will prevent countries from creating a patchwork of rules and regulations, which could hinder manufacturers and road users from investing in automated and connected vehicles. Compatibility of safety requirements, liability issues, and communication systems and services among European countries are a must for a smooth market introduction and to make potential benefits a reality.
And so, in order to stimulate these developments and maintain their competitiveness, European countries need to pursue a joint and coordinated approach. This will pave the way for a shared vision on the developments of automated and connective driving across the EU, followed by concrete steps. While this early stage of innovative technologies offers considerable opportunities, we will have to work together to force compatible legislations, from country to country, on such issues as distances between vehicles in platoons.
For this purpose, the Netherlands will initiate an ongoing dialogue between member states, the European Commission, industry and knowledge institutes, for which the Dutch Presidency in 2016 will only be the start.