Automotive

Germany's A9 autobahn to become test track for self-driving cars

Germany's A9 autobahn to becom...
A section of the A9 autobahn is to be set up for testing autonomous vehicles like (we hope) Mercedes-Benz' spectacular F 015 concept
A section of the A9 autobahn is to be set up for testing autonomous vehicles like (we hope) Mercedes-Benz' spectacular F 015 concept
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A section of the A9 autobahn is to be set up for testing autonomous vehicles like (we hope) Mercedes-Benz' spectacular F 015 concept
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A section of the A9 autobahn is to be set up for testing autonomous vehicles like (we hope) Mercedes-Benz' spectacular F 015 concept

Germany's Minister of Transport has announced a project that will see a section of the A9 autobahn that connects Berlin and Munich set it up for autonomous vehicle testing.

Hanging digital bells and whistles on the A9 will include infrastructure provisions for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, as well as liberating a chunk of the 700 MHz radio spectrum so the test cars can talk back and forth. The project is expected to get underway later this year.

Germany's Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the project will make the German car industry a leader in the field and enable them to build an independent data platform.

"The German manufacturers will not rely on Google," said Dobrindt. "We must guard against the monopolization of the data. We must create for ourselves a digital sovereignty, regardless of the Americas and Asia."

The issue is not a new one. "We seek connection to Google’s data systems but we still want to be the masters of our own cars," Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said in October last year. "Potential conflict arises around making data available."

Data platforms aside, it's clear that manufacturers like Mercedes and Volkswagen are looking into having self-driving capability be another option for future buyers. You can check the boxes for Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, satellite radio, and someday, also check the box for autonomous driving.

While similar projects 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.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung via Jalopnik

4 comments
Rigby5
Don't do it! Autonomous cars are a disaster. There will always be glitches in the software, sunspots will knock out GPS and wireless, hackers will get in, terrorist will abuse, lawsuits will bankrupt companies, and no one will want to pay for the cost and maintenance. They have not even been able to do this yet for planes, trains, or ships that cost hundreds of times more. Cars are much, much harder, but will never likely support the cost.
Stephen N Russell
Need same for US then let consumer test drivers drive Gen 1 Autonomous cars for Real Time data to DMV, CalTrans, auto makers alone.,
Justin Brooks
US, Europe, China, Japan and now Germany.....still no Australia. geez our governments sure do suck when it comes to technological foresight.
Hartmut D
The basic for reporting is: serious facts. Correct is: there is no frequency spectrum foreseen in Europe in the 700 MHZ band. It is said in the FAZ that the money earned by the auctioning of the 700 MHz band could perhaps been used to support the industry activities with regard to autonomous driving. C2C and C2I are foreseen in the 5,9GHz band in Europe. By the way, sometimes I get the impression that the brain of an autonomous driving car could have a higher IQ than some human driver: there are about 3500 fatal accidents in Germany and 25000 in Europe. Data security is another important item.