News - December 8, 2015

The WE-pod has landed

Roelof Kleis

The car without a steering wheel has arrived on campus. The car is going to run trial laps on the industrial park.

On a tow truck from the garage Stienen from Someren the ultramodern car was delivered on campus around noon. Directly from TNO in Helmond, where the final touches were made in the past weeks. In Helmond also the technical inspection was performed by the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (national service for traffic).

Formally the WE-pod is a passenger car. The car has a dispensation to be allowed on the road. ‘But we want to go for a separate category for vehicles such as the WE-pod’, the project leader Jan Willem van der Wiel says. The WE-pod is not a car. The most eye-catching proof is that there is no steering wheel. The WE-pod drives itself, assisted by a battery on sensors, cameras and computers.

However, it will take a while before the WE-pod will hit the road. In the coming months an intensive training programme will take place on campus. The vehicle will have to prove that it can drive independently and safely on a fixed route. At the end of next month an official inauguration of the self-propelled will take place by the minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen.