Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) launched a ‘Flemish Task Force Autonomous Transport’, in view to coordinate and accelerate the development of autonomous transport in Flanders.
“The aim of the task force is to lead the upswing of autonomous transport in Flanders and to support new pilot projects maximally,” says Peeters. “Autonomous mobility is not a distant future anymore; it’s a reality we can’t ignore. That’s why we want to act today and prepare for the mobility of the future.”
Due to the worldwide accelerated development and implementation of autonomous transport technologies, Flanders doesn’t want to get behind in this technical (r)evolution. There have been several experiments and projects regarding autonomous transport in the past; now, Peeters wants to concretize this in an official task force.
To further stimulate autonomous mobility in Flanders, it is the government’s task to participate in these projects and to coach this new market in its growth process,” says Peeters. “That’s why we also invite a large group of academic and private stakeholders to take part in the different working groups focusing on specific themes.”
The task force is also the result of a joint initiative of the Ministerial Department with the Flemish Road and Traffic Agency (AWV), the Economic Department, and public transport provider De Lijn. The result was a strategic study on ‘shared autonomous transport’. In the study, the creation of a task force was highly recommended.
According to the Minister, autonomous and connected vehicles will appear more frequently in Flanders in the near future. They will be part of a mobility mix and could have a beneficial influence on the quality of shared mobility.
The Minister expects radical changes in the mobility landscape with the appearance of robot taxis and robot shuttles. “Autonomous transport offers new opportunities. Not only because it is increasing the quality of transport and its safety but also because it’s a new developing industry in which Flanders wants to take full part.”
“By creating and producing smart components and developing the flanking services that go with it, Flanders can create a place for itself in these matters on a worldwide scale,” she concludes.