One year after the official opening of the Lower Saxony test field for autonomous driving, the project partners draw a positive interim balance. Many Lower Saxony and international companies are already using this “open-air research laboratory”, announced the Ministry of Science in Hanover. The leading German Aerospace Center (DLR) said that the first test drives for various projects have already been completed on Autobahn 39.
Before the start in January 2020, 71 masts were erected on the A39 in order to record and analyze, among other things, driving behavior and traffic flow. According to the DLR, the first data have been recorded and compared. Once it has been fully set up, the test field will extend over around 280 kilometers on the A2, A39, A391 motorways as well as on several federal and country roads. It is available to industrial partners, as well as universities and research institutions, said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Science.
Digital map, sensor models and simulation environment
According to the Ministry of Transport, planning for a second phase is underway. This includes, among other things, the expansion of the digital map, the sensor models and the simulation environment. According to the ministry, the research objective is a simulation-based approval of automated or autonomous vehicles that relieve traffic and reduce the number of accidents.
At the opening of the test track, Transport Minister Bernd Althusmann (CDU) successfully advertised that DLR should not only be responsible for the results in Lower Saxony, but also for data from all test tracks nationwide. After a decision by the conference of transport ministers in spring 2020, the state was given the task of implementing a coordination office for test field activities in Germany.