16 May 2016

Royal HaskoningDHV has announced the results of a successful test with more than fifty semi-autonomous vehicles which took place in the Netherlands, demonstrating the latest developments in the transition towards self-driving vehicles. The potential positive impact of this technology could be huge in reducing the number of road accidents.

As part of a collaborative initiative together with Aon, Business Lease Nederland and Prodrive Training, Royal HaskoningDHV carried out the design and evaluation of the demonstration tests.

Reduction in road accidents

“Recent research has shown that one of the benefits of self-driving vehicles is a reduction in road accidents as most road traffic accidents occur due to human error,” notes Evert-Jeen van der Meer, Industry Director Automotive at Aon and initiator of the test. He points out the statistics from a recent analysis by insurer Allianz which found a 45% reduction in incidents with automatic/assisted parking.

First test on a public road

This latest test is the first of its kind in Europe, where semi-autonomous vehicles were driven alongside normal traffic on a public road. It also represents the next step in this research after an initial trial in October 2015 which took place on the RDW test track in Lelystad in a conditioned environment.

The convoy of drivers in the fifty vehicles drove along the A2 motorway near Amsterdam in what has been called the ‘National Platoon Test’.

Example for other countries

Peter Morsink, Senior Consultant Mobility and Traffic Safety at Royal HaskoningDHV commented: “The test on the A2 is an excellent example of ‘learning by doing’: acquiring information in practice to be able to make the transition to self-driving vehicles with the proper consideration, and in a gradual way. We are proud that the Netherlands is pioneering this transition, striving to set a fine example for other countries worldwide.”

Interaction with other traffic

The vehicles were split into ten groups of which two groups were equipped with dashboard cameras. Observation vehicles with Royal HaskoningDHV experts on-board observed the groups and how they interacted with other traffic. Drivers indicated that they rarely had to intervene, but when they did need to, it was quick and easy.

Room for improvement

Although the test revealed what existing safety features can achieve, there’s nevertheless still a lot of room for improvement. Peter Morsink added: “It’s extremely important that drivers are familiar with the systems and know how to use them correctly. So for instance when handing over or taking back control of the vehicle, it’s ideal to have uniform and simple standard across the industry for this to work. This test is a significant step towards our connected future and together with our partners, we are closing in on making this a reality. Our expertise in the transport industry means that we are well-positioned to be able to use our knowledge both in terms of designing, consulting and building out traffic networks.”

Royal HaskoningDHV has a track record in traffic management and traffic network systems, meaning that the team took an integrated approach to the testing, looking into the entire ecosystem which involves the analysis of the human, road and vehicle perspectives.

Peter Morsink
Senior Consultant Transport and Traffic Safety, Royal HaskoningDHV
Mobile: +31 652368078

Evert-Jeen van der Meer
Industry Director Automotive, Aon
Mobile: +31 6 53324273