Soon the view of a truck without a driver on Belgian roads should not surprise anyone. From May 1, autonomous vehicles, after receiving the authorization of the Minister of Transport, will be able to travel on roads in Belgium. Such vehicles can be monitored remotely by the operator from the control room.
The Belgian Federal Service for Mobility and Transport (SPF Mobilité et Transports) reported that on 19 April a new law was introduced in the Traffic Code, which „authorizes the Federal Transport Minister or his delegate to withdraw in exceptional cases and for a limited period of time from any provisions contained in the Code.” The purpose of the regulation is to facilitate the testing of autonomous vehicles which, according to the Belgian government, may in the future contribute to the reduction of harmful emissions and congestion, as well as to improve road safety.
The government is on track to introduce self-driving trucks
The Belgian government has been on the topic for two years. In 2016, the Council of Ministers adopted a Code of Best Practice containing recommendations for organizations wishing to conduct tests in Belgium. These recommendations apply to all levels of automation, but on the assumption that there is always a driver or operator in the vehicle. In accordance with the new provision, this condition will not have to be fulfilled. In this way, „any automated vehicle driving system will probably be tested in Belgium,” reads the communication of the Federal Service for Mobility and Transport.