Gelderland allows passengers to be transported in wepods
The WEpods – two self-driving vehicles – can now transport passengers. The province has received official permission from the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW)). The WEpods are a pilot project with self-driving vehicles. The vehicles have no pedals and no steering wheel. However, Dutch law requires that there always has to be a driver in a vehicle. The WEpods are currently driving on the Wageningen campus. The test runs are being progressively extended towards Ede-Wageningen station.
Conny Bieze, member of the Provincial Executive for Mobility: “I am delighted that we have now got permission. Being able to drive with passengers is another milestone in the test phase. It also shows that the government is very committed to this pilot project. We can move forward with a lot of confidence.”
Permission from the Netherlands Vehicle Authority
In order to get permission from the Netherlands Vehicle Authority, it must be demonstrated that the vehicle can offer a comfortable and reliable ride without any abnormalities, that the emergency stop works properly, and that the vehicle meets a number of requirements such as the presence of sufficient safety belts.
Towards Ede-Wageningen station
Driving with passengers has been integrated into the WEpod tests. Passengers were allowed in a controlled way. The experience of these passengers can then become a part of the knowledge development. What do people think of the WEpods? Exciting, boring, fun…? This will also determine how vehicles drive and what they look like in the future. The WEpods are now driving around the campus of Wageningen University. Here, the number of passengers invited to take part will gradually be increased. And the distance that the vehicles can drive independently is being increased all the time. And the speed is turned up a bit as well. The WEpods are currently doing 10 kilometres an hour. The route is now being ‘mapped’ outside the campus. This means that the route is stored in 3D images so that the WEpods know exactly where they are based, using certain fixed reference points.
The phase 1 pilot project with the WEpods, from January to September 2016, matches the province’s ambition for flexible, sustainable, safe and social mobility.