Dutch ‘most ready’ to accept self-driving cars but bikes are a problem

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The Netherlands leads the world in being ready to accept self-driving vehicles but the popularity of cycling will remain an issue in urban areas, consultancy KPMG said on Tuesday.

The comment is contained in an update of the KPMG annual self-driving cars preparedness index which has been expanded to 25 countries this year.

The Netherlands may top the list in terms of technology, acceptance, rules and infrastructure, but bikes form a major problem, the report said. ‘We have a lot of bicycles and in urban crowded areas it will be very difficult to start autonomous driving,’ KPMG manager Stijn de Groen said in the report.

‘As a result, it may make more sense to keep transport modes separate rather than integrating AVs [autonomous vehicles] to work there,’ he said.




On the plus side, ‘the Netherlands is working with neighbouring countries to launch huge platoons of driverless trucks to transport flowers on major “Tulip Corridor” routes from Amsterdam to Antwerp and Rotterdam to the Ruhr valley,’ KPMG said.

‘The Dutch government is taking also an active role in AV safety and legal issues, with the infrastructure minister announcing a ‘driving licence’ for self-driving cars in a March speech.’

Brakes

Meanwhile, new research by the Dutch institute for road safety research SWOV shows cyclists feel more unsure if they find themselves in conflict with a self-driving car rather than with a regular vehicle.

In particular, cyclists say they are more likely to brake when confronted with tricky road situation involving a self-driving car, even if they have priority, the SWOV said.

However, their behaviour can be influenced by how they acquire information about self-driving cars. Shown a positive information film, cyclists are more likely to continue cycling than to brake, the research showed.


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