In a project that is expected to launch later this year, Germany’s Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said that a section of that country’s A9 autobahn connecting Berlin and Munich will be set up for the testing of self-driving cars, as Tony Borroz reports for Gizmag. Borroz writes:
While similar projects [in which auto makers have been developing self-driving vehicles] are underway in the US, Europe, China, and Japan, the German trials are the first time a country has given over a slice of public highway for tests like this … and the fact that the Berlin to Munich Autobahn is a pretty important stretch of road points to just how serious they are about this.
Dobrindt said Germany looks to be an independent world leader for digital vehicles, and not dependent on Google technology, as Andy Eckardt writes for CNBC. “We have to achieve a digital sovereignty, independent from America and Asia,” Dobrindt is quoted as saying. The traffic minister seeks to create a network of roads with fewer traffic jams, less pollution, and greater safety, Eckardt writes.
The dedicated section of the A9 will provide infrastructure updates for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, along with a liberation of a section of the 700 MHz radio spectrum to allow test cars to communicate with each other, Borroz writes. He notes that German manufacturers such as Mercedes and Volkswagen have been planning on having self-driving capability as an option for buyers in the future.
Eckart notes that last year, Mercedes-Benz introduced its “Future Truck 2025,” which can drive itself at speeds up to 50 mph on highways. And Audi, he writes, has a driverless race car, its 560-horsepower RS7, which drove itself at speeds of more than 149 mph around Formula One’s Hockenheim track last year.
As this blog reported earlier this month:
Major carmakers, as well as companies such as Google, have been at work on autonomous vehicles…. Among those companies mentioned in BCG’s press release are: Google, with its fleet of 100 prototypes; Cadillac, which plans to introduce its limited AV technology, SuperDrive, in its CT6 model in 2016; Mercedes-Benz, which plans on a semi-autonomous car by 2016; Nissan, which promises a fully autonomous car by 2020; and BMW, which demonstrated its valet parking system in the Consumer Electronics Show is Las Vegas last week, as this blog reported.
Image by Björn Láczay