Wageningen, NL is piloting AVs

In January 2016, the Dutch university town of Wageningen launched what is arguably the world’s first driverless shuttle pilot operating on public roads in mixed traffic. The WEpods trial consists of two Easymile EZ10 vehicles circulating between the city’s railway station and the Wageningen University & Research campus, a Dutch university focused on the life sciences. City officials report that this experience, which was several years in the making and is fully funded through 2019, has already highlighted the need for cities to get clarity about their learning goals for AV pilots, glean and communicate value from experimental failures as well as successes, and be transparent about findings.

This all reflects the city’s strong desire to take a leading role in AV development, rather than let industry set the agenda. This approach has helped prioritize unexplored opportunities for assisted mobility for elderly and disabled persons. It also highlights the city’s interest in pursuing connected vehicle technology to reduce AVs’ tendency to carve out their own “safety bubbles” through overly cautious driving.

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