Real-Life Self-Drive Vehicle Trials Start Across Europe

After preliminary trials in Germany last year, a number of large scale self-driving vehicle tests prepare to get underway around Europe.

Also, second Snowmageddon for the Ardennes. And, disturbing allegations the 2012 Sierra coach disaster in Switzerland was deliberate. Roads in northern Belgium are better than the south says survey, except at night. More Paris pedestrianisation, and a new tyre scam targets the elderly.

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REAL-LIFE SELF-DRIVE VEHICLE TRIALS START ACROSS EUROPE

Cars in Sweden and trucks in the UK, Benelux, Germany and Scandinavia.

Photo via the European Truck Platooning Challenge.

Photo via the European Truck Platooning Challenge.

Volvo is recruiting 100 commuters to test its self-driving cars in Gothenburg.

The real world experiment takes place next year on specially selected roads which avoid cycle and pedestrian routes according to the BBC.

Importantly, the routes all have clear lane markings which the technology needs to work.

The Swedish manufacturer says it wants participants to avoid focusing on the road during the tests.

The vehicles are fitted with back-up systems and will not pass control back to the human sat behind the wheel in the event of a mishap.

After preliminary trials in Germany last year, the Swedish test is one of a number of large scale autonomous, or self-driving, vehicle experiments preparing to get underway around Europe.

At the weekend, a ‘truck-platooning’ experiment was announced in the UK.

Convoys of up to ten, closely-spaced self-driving trucks will ply the M6 near Carlisle later this year. More details are due on 16 March from Chancellor George Osborne.

Meanwhile, the European Truck Platooning Challenge starts on Thursday 31 March.

Six platoons of two vehicles each will converge on Rotterdam in the Netherlands – from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden – finishing on Wednesday 6 April.

The project is organised under the current Dutch EU Presidency.

Platooning will also feature at the subsequent Intertraffic exhibition in Amsterdam, and will be on the agenda of the Informal Transport Council on 14 April.

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bettie

Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel was one of those caught up in heavy snow on E411 this morning – though he still made it on time to the Brussels EU Council meeting on migrants. There were long delays in both directions all day for the second time this year. It makes the Belgian Ardennes the hardest hit European region this year outside the Alps. Also particularly badly affected was the A4 between Metz and Strasbourg. Meanwhile, the major roads around Dusseldorf were gridlocked first thing, with jams peaking at 300km according to Welt.de, despite Germany’s winter tyres rules. Snow was forecast, but for northern France and western Belgium. Photo @Xavier_Bettel

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roundup: BELGIUM. An investigative journalist thinks the Sierre coach crash in Switzerland in March 2012 – in which 28 people died, 22 of them children – was deliberate. Douglas de Coninck says the driver was taking controversial anti-depressant Seroxat. He presented his findings, along with some of the parents, at the launch of a book ‘The Sierra Bus Crash: 1 pill, 28 dead’ in Brussels today. The cause of the accident has never been officially explained. Also, a new poll says motorways in the northern, Dutch-speaking Flanders region are much better than the roads in the French-speaking Wallonia in the south. The survey from motoring group VAB says 65% think Flemish roads are ‘comfortable’ but that dips to 48% in Wallonia. The difference is even more marked for the secondary road network reports Brussels Times. However, the lack of road lighting in the north sees Wallonia come out on top for visibility at night (also see Another Pounding for Belgium’s Poor Roads). FRANCE. Seven squares in Paris will be partly pedestrianised in the next four years reports The Connexion, including Place de la Bastille, Nation, Italie, Panthéon, Madeleine, Gambetta and Place des Fêtes. However, the redevelopment budget has been cut from €30 million to €24 million. Deputy mayor and man responsible for transport Christophe Najdovski says the next objective is 100 hectares of car-free woods in the Bois de Vincennes in south east Paris, just outside the peripherique. Meanwhile, police are warning about a new scam where thieves tamper with tyres then come to the victim’s aid. A typical scenario involves them asking for some money – they then steal cashpoint card details, other valuables and even the vehicle itself. The elderly have been particularly targeted. It follows the arrest of a couple in Marseille, thought to be responsible for 25 offences.

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