Self-driving cars will not be permitted on Belgian roads, according to federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet, as reported by Het Nieuwsblad on Tuesday.

In Germany, certain Mercedes models with level 3 autonomous features are allowed on motorways. Level 3 means the car can temporarily take control, enabling the driver to engage in other activities, subject to specific conditions. The driver must be capable of promptly regaining control, the feature is limited to daylight usage, and the speed is restricted to 60 km/h.

Mercedes had aspired to introduce this system in Belgium, but the proposal was rejected. Gilkinet, a member of the francophone green party Ecolo, expressed his opposition, stating, "It is an intermediate form of autonomous driving: individuals who are occupied with other activities in their cars are not attentive enough to react quickly if needed."

He continued, "Self-driving cars also get stuck in traffic jams and contribute to pollution. For long journeys, it is more sensible to encourage people to take the train rather than use a self-driving car. On the train, they can also relax."

Gilkinet mentioned that autonomous vehicles are particularly valuable in the logistics sector, especially for industrial purposes. He noted that several pilot projects are currently in progress.

The decision has left mobility organization Touring disappointed. A spokesperson argued, "There is no doubt that automated vehicles can be a significant advancement in terms of road safety, but they can also offer resolutely positive effects on traffic flow and, consequently, environmental impact."

They added, "Everyone should recognize that we need the best and most advanced technology for all modes of transport to establish a high-performance, multi-modal mobility system that effectively addresses the challenges we face." Photo by BP63Vincent, Wikimedia commons.