A fully automated Toyota is set to drive through Brussels in a fixed loop for a whole year. This is a first in Europe. If necessary, the accompanying safety driver will be able to intervene.
After test drives in Japan and the US, it is now Brussels’ turn. On the roof of a regular series production vehicle, all kinds of technical gadgets and sensors have been fitted. Laser pulses to map objects, radars, cameras and an accurate positioning system. Inside are a safety driver, who intervenes if necessary to correct the steering, and an operator, who keeps an eye on the automated driving system. Of course, this did not happen overnight. It involved months of extensive preparation, from the approval of the AD systems (automated driving), the training of the drivers, an analysis of the route, right through to consultation with the authorities in order to obtain the necessary permits.
In the long run, the aim is to achieve zero traffic casualties. The road to this noble goal is through a good understanding of the complex and unpredictable human behaviour and its impact on the requirements of automated vehicles. The Brussels authorities are already very much in favour of technology as a solution to mobility problems in the city and are following the developments closely. Of course, safety remains the priority for everyone.