Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Self-driving cars not welcome on Belgian roads, says mobility minister

06:44 09/11/2023

Belgium’s minister for mobility Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) has said that autonomous cars will not be allowed on the country’s roads.

Certain Mercedes models with level three autonomous driving - which lets the driver let go of the steering wheel under certain conditions - were recently authorised to drive on German motorways and the manufacturer was hoping for the same in Belgium.

“I'm not in favour,” Gilkinet told Het Nieuwsblad. “This is an intermediate form of autonomous driving: people who sit in their cars and play are not alert enough to intervene quickly if necessary.”

But autonomous vehicles for the logistics sector, said Gilkinet, could be handled differently.

“We have already carried out several studies on this subject and a pilot project is also underway,” the minister said.

Belgium’s MR party said it was “surprised and dismayed” by the Ecolo minister’s statements and urged him in a statement to continue the dialogue on the technology.

An approved 2022 resolution from Emmanuel Burton (MR) called for a definition of automated vehicles to be included in the highway code, for tests of automated vehicles in Belgium to be continued, for road and motorway infrastructure to be assessed, and for the potential positive and/or negative effects of automated vehicles on the environmental balance of transport in Belgium.

“The MR party therefore urges the minister to keep his promises by continuing the dialogue with the regions, the tests and pilot projects for automated vehicles in order to better identify the potential of these vehicles, the opportunities for future introduction and the strengths and weaknesses of our road and motorway infrastructure, so that such vehicles can circulate safely in the future,” the party said.

Written by Helen Lyons