The Dutch city of Eindhoven will become the first in the world to implement self-driving cars for large-scale commercial use. The official announcement was made by Steve Neleman, CEO of Amber Mobility at a trade event in Hannover, Germany.
Amber Mobility, an Eindhoven-based start-up has garnered significant international attention for the development of its own modular, autonomous, and customizable electric car designed specifically to be shared. It now proposes to equip electric cars currently being used in their business-to-business mobility service with automated driving capabilities, and the organization has confirmed it expects to be in a position to have these self-driving vehicles on the road in Eindhoven by mid-2018. Amber has been assisted in this innovative development by a series of partners which include TomTom, KPN, Microsoft and the Dutch municipalities of Eindhoven and Helmond.
It also disclosed that its long-term vision will be to eventually expand its service from the Netherlands to the rest of Europe. In addition to this, it confirmed that companies already using existing Amber services will be the first to benefit from this technology.
Project Director Mobility and Logistics at TNO, Daan de Cloe, revealed that TomTom will act as the map service provider - and that KPN will provide network necessary for location determination and data communication, whilst TNO will take care of the implementation of the vehicle automation software and testing of the sensors and cameras. He said: "We're looking forward to seeing our software implemented in the automated vehicles of Amber Mobility and to speeding up the realization of their use case."
The innovative project by Amber Mobility has received widespread support politically, with the municipalities of Eindhoven and Helmond also playing an important role. Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma said the project being embarked upon by Amber would only serve to reinforce Eindhoven's position as a center for high-tech innovation. He said: "It's only natural that we would support Amber to be the first to implement self-driving vehicles. By doing so we are reinforcing the Eindhoven Brainport region's position as a leading center for high-tech innovation."
"Autonomous driving is crucial for the future of mobility," explains Amber CEO Steven Nelemans. "If we want to be able to offer a mobility service that's more efficient, convenient, and affordable than car ownership itself, we need autonomous cars in order to make sure that people have access to mobility at all times."