The Netherlands wants to take a “leading role” in the development of self-driving cars and systems to allow vehicles to communicate with each other, according to the infrastructure ministry.

The statement comes after ministers approved the large-scale testing of self-driving cars and trucks on public roads in the Netherlands. They argue that the technology could cut traffic jams, reduce pollution and improve road safety.

"Large-scale testing is scheduled to start in the summer, pending approval by parliament, ministry spokesperson Marianne Wuite told Agence France-Presse.

The Dutch system aims to get cars to work together, and not to do away with drivers altogether.

“Vehicles that communicate with each other and accelerate or break in unison will contribute to smoother traffic flow,” the ministry statement says. “The vehicles can travel more closely together and use the available road space more efficiently.”

Several companies and institutes have already expressed interest in participating in the trials, the ministry says. For example, DAF, a Dutch vehicle manufacturing company is working with the TNO scientific research institute, and Rotterdam’s port authority and the transport industry lobby group, TLN, are also working together to develop self-driving trucks or lorries.

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