In the light of rapidly growing urban population, tremendous effort are being made in transport industry to improve road safety, mobility and contribute to reducing the undesirable effects of the transport sector on the environment. During the workshop, participants got an overview of all the evolutions regarding autonomous shuttles in Belgium: from technology providers to transport companies that want to make it an operational service.
Belgian Minister of Mobility, François Bellot, has highlighted the importance for tomorrow’s mobility to be more shared, more connected and more intermodal. In his speech, he has explained all the effort that has been done in Belgium over last years to facilitate the implementation of autonomous shuttles and emphasize that Belgium will keep on supporting these initiatives. Belgian government will make sure that Belgium remains interesting for these tests, namely by proposing clear procedures for the parties interested and furthermore by contributing to regulatory work with the other European countries.
Jean-François Gaillet, Director of Innovation & Technology at Vias Institute, presented the involvement of the institute in the development of a code of conduct to perform tests in Belgium as Vias was the first one in the country to carry out tests on the field with autonomous vehicles. Vias institute has been deeply involved in a lot of activities related to the topic and serves as an expert to many stakeholders.
Clément Delbouys, Sales Manager for Europe in Easymile has emphasized that the role of autonomous shuttle is not to replace the public transport of today but rather to complement it. Together with Jean Baptiste Latil d’Alberta- Area Manager: Benelux & UK in Navya, Dennis Mica- Business Development Manager in 2getthere and Dario Desarranno- Project Manager in USH, they have discussed all technical aspects of the autonomous technology.
Geert Van Der Linden- Policy Officer in DG MOVE provided an overview of the efforts made in European Commission toward improving the transportation sector of today and enabling its development to meet the requirements of tomorrow. Karel Hofman and Abde Jebari from Traffic Regulation Service in Belgian Ministry of Transport, explained in detail the legal framework for the introduction of autonomous buses in Belgium.
Representatives of the mass transport providers in Belgium: Simon Collet (TEC), Roger Kesteloot (De Lijn) and Philippe Vandewauwer (STIB/MIVB) have discussed the opportunities and difficulties for the implantation of autonomous shuttles on the large scale.
Public had the chance to see the projects that are planned to be implemented in the near future: autonomous shuttles at Brussels Airport for first and last mile (Barbara Demaire), The NAVAJO* Project in Louvain-la-Neuve (Simon Collet). Philippe Vandewauwer provided the insights of experience that STIB/MIVB has gained after pilot project in Woluwe Park in Brussels in 2018. Johan Van Looy- Chief Strategy Officer of De Lijn explained in more details the ambitions and plans of the company to be involved in the project with autonomous shuttles in the next years.
10h30 Set the scene
11h00 When will we have autonomous buses in Belgian cities or enclosed area’s- status of technology and services – Round table discussion
11h40 Coffee break
11h50 Legal Framework for the introduction of autonomous buses in Belgium
12h15 Vision of Belgian operators
12h30 Belgian projects in the near future
13h00 Future projects of de Lijn
14h00 Visit of the exhibition
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