In Amsterdam, automobile manufacturers, national governments and the EU institutions signed an agreement, which is to regulate and unify the implementation of autonomous-driving vehicles on European roads.
Introducing connected and automated vehicles is to help ensure better traffic safety, decarbonisation of transport and the transition towards a zero-emissions society.
Signatories of the Amsterdam Declaration agreed to "work towards a coherent European framework for the deployment of interoperable connected and automated driving, which should be available, if possible, by 2019" and "bring together developments of connected and automated driving in order to reach their full potential to improve road safety, human health, traffic flows, and to reduce the environmental impact of road transport."
During the introduction of autonomous vehicles they also intend to "adopt a "learning by experience" approach, including, where possible, cross-border cooperation, sharing and expanding knowledge on connected and automated driving and to develop practical guidelines to ensure interoperability of systems and services".
Furthermore, all signatories agreed "to support further innovation in connected and automated vehicle technologies to strengthen the global market position of European industry." According to the agreement, important emphasis will also be given on ensuring data protection and privacy.
The Netherlands, which is the European Union's president nation in 2016, feels it is extremely important to address issues regarding connected and autonomous vehicles head on. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, who is also very active when it comes to implementing new technologies in order to improve European traffic situation, stated: "Today for the first time, we have talked at the European political level about self-driving vehicles and the measures required for their smooth introduction in Europe. We want to pick up the pace because there are many gains to be made for mobility. Connected and automated vehicles will make our roads safer, more sustainable and more efficient."
All signatories also agreed that this agreement is simply a first step on a path towards autonomous-driving future, since implementing such an essential, all-embracing change will demand a huge transformation (and development) of the infrastructure as well as legislature pertaining to autonomous driving.