Volkswagen Group Research has announced that it is testing automated vehicles in urban traffic in the German city of Hamburg. The testing programme, using a fleet of five e-Golfs equipped with laser scanners, radars and cameras, is the first time the carmaker has trialled highly-automated driving under real driving conditions in a major German city.
“The tests center on technical possibilities as well as urban infrastructure requirements,” said Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research.
“In order to make driving even safer and more comfortable in future, vehicles not only have to become autonomous and more intelligent – cities must also provide a digital ecosystem that enables vehicles to communicate with traffic lights and traffic management systems as well as with one another.”
The tests are taking place on a section of a nine-kilometre digital test bed for automated and connected driving, currently under construction in Hamburg. As part of its preparations for automated driving, the city is upgrading traffic lights with components for infrastructure-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.
Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation, said: “Two and a half years from now, Hamburg will be hosting the World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). Automated driving will play a key role.
“I am delighted that our strategic partner Volkswagen has already become the first user for our digital test bed. We will establish Hamburg as a model city for intelligent mobility and be presenting numerous innovative mobility projects to a global audience in 2021.”
Volkswagen will use the results of the test drives to inform its wider research into automated driving. In a statement, the carmaker said that it hopes to be in a position to offer customers “concrete products for the automated transport of goods and passengers on public roads a few years from now”.