Last week, two modified Citroën C4 Picasso cars drove all the way from Paris to Amsterdam in “eyes-off” mode, the third and highest level of car automation currently sanctioned on a few European roads.
The 300km drive was part of demonstration by the PSA Group — the shared company of Citroën, Peugeot, and DS Automobiles brands — to show off self-driving car capabilities to “The Experience” attendees.
The Experience is an informal event set up by the Netherlands for European Union transport ministers.
A few days before the event, the European Council issued a statement calling for manufacturers to work with the government on self-driving cars, on the promise of further research and development, regulatory reform, and advanced infrastructure.
That regulatory reform will become very important as more car manufacturers start to test cars on European roads. Right now, level four (mind off) and five (driverless) are both not accepted on roads in Europe, but companies like Tesla, Audi, and Google are looking to implement these systems into vehicles in the next few years.
PSA Group test demonstrates confidence in self-driving systems
The drive shows that PSA Group is confident in its self-driving system, letting EU transport ministers take turns in the vehicle. This confidence and willingness to cooperate might give the group some special privileges, when the EU transport commission considers manufacturers to test fully driverless vehicles.
PSA Group already has special privileges in its home country of France, being the only company allowed to test self-driving cars. Its four self-driving cars have clocked 20,000km since being approved on July 2015, travelling from Paris to Vigo, Spain and Paris to Bordeaux.
The group plans to have some autonomous functions in its cars by 2018 and a completely autonomous vehicle by 2020. Now it just needs to hope that the EU transport ministers agree with that timeline.
Image Credit: PSA Group