Peter van Oorschot
- Market Traffic & Transport
After Singapore, the Netherlands is the best prepared country for the arrival of the self-driving car. This became evident after an analysis by consultancy firm KPMG. Internationally, The Netherlands is therefore seen as leading. At the same time, there are currently major challenges in the Netherlands to actually get autonomous driving off the ground. Many of those challenges focus on ensuring safety in self-driving cars. The main question we addressed in our webinar (Dutch spoken) is ‘How safe are self-driving cars?’. This webinar took place on Thursday, 5 November 2020. Missed the webinar? Watch the replay here.
To this end, we set up a panel with AI researcher Jan-Pieter Paardekoper (TNO) and strategic advisor on autonomous driving Edwin Nas (RDW). During the webinar they shared their insight on 3 the below statements.
In addition to the largely mechanical technology that ensures that a car can accelerate, brake and steer, a self-driving car needs systems that ensure that the car can function autonomously. The basic technology behind the 'eyes' of an autonomous vehicle is explained in the video below.
Where the driver of a car now manually applies the brakes to prevent an accident, a self-driving car will soon have to 'choose' for itself what the most appropriate response is to a possible emergency situation. The system does this based on the data available at that time, but in the system itself certain decision methods can be pre-programmed in advance. This can have major consequences for the ultimate response of the self-driving car. Especially so if an accident can no longer be prevented but a choice can still be made between which other road user(s) to involve.
The ethical dilemma in self-driving cars
Self-driving cars depend on a connection to 'the outside world' in order to navigate. Does this always-on connection automatically mean that a self-driving car is continuously vulnerable to hackers? Vulnerabilities have already been demonstrated in specific non-self-driving cars, according to the video below. In an isolated case, the risks may still be manageable, but what about if we will soon be surrounded by self-driving cars?
The logistics sector is of crucial importance to the Netherlands. Developments in this area are rapid and many parties are involved. Think of the automotive industry, government, transport and science. It is important to share knowledge with each other and to maintain a dialogue with each other, so that we can take constructive steps in the Netherlands towards a world with self-driving cars.