Prague Airport wants to be among the first to start using a self-driving car in the Czech Republic to transport people. It takes its inspiration from Dubai, where ten-seaters drive without a driver. A law that will allow such operations for the first time can be effective in the Czech Republic in the first half of the following year.
Václav Havel Airport Prague wants to start testing self-managed cars. Passengers should shorten their journey between the two Prague terminals, just to travel outside of normal road traffic.
According to the chairman of the board of directors, Václav Řehoř, a particular model is already under consideration. Ideally, the airport would like to buy the same type of car as Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, a ten-seater EZ 10. It is not yet decided. A major role in the choice of a particular model will ultimately be played by finance.
“We are looking for a suitable partner to test the operation of these facilities,” said Roman Pacvoň, a spokesman for Prague Airport. The plan to jump into the wave of self-driving cars was announced by the Czech government a year ago when it approved a state polygon construction project where these technologies could be tested. In addition, there is a project by the German automaker BMW, which wants to build its own test circuit on the former Antonín Sokolov Mine Dump. The third project is the intention of the investment company Ecolade. It wants to create a public test circuit in Stříbro near Tachov.
There is no law yet
Against all these projects that are still only on paper, Prague airport has the advantage of having its test tracks already standing. The problem is that there is a missing law to allow passengers to be carried by car without a driver.
“In the first phase, it would be enough for each vehicle to have a chauffeur, who would take control in any event,” said Gregory to MF DNES. Only when the safety of such traffic is tested will it come to the conclusion that vehicle operation will be 100% autonomous and the car will work in normal traffic. The Chamber of Deputies is waiting to discuss an amendment to the Act on Roads, which should allow the operation of metro or trains without a driver.
“We want to discuss it first with our fellow Members and then turn to the ministries to allow driverless cars to be driven on the basis of this amendment,” said Petr Dolínek, Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee. In the first phase, this authorization would apply only to non-public communications. Legislation would therefore allow operations in closed premises, such as the airport complex, factory or university.
Chamber of Deputies in December
Even in December, MEPs want a law allowing for the limited operation of trains and cars without a driver to discuss at first reading. Ideally, the amendment could become effective in the first half of next year. Apart from the Prague airport, the AŽD Praha railway safety equipment manufacturer is waiting for it. It is now working on a prototype of a self-driven train that it wants to start testing on the plum road between Lovosice and Mostem in December.