Volkswagen Group Research is testing automated vehicles in urban traffic in Hamburg. This is the first time Volkswagen has begun to test automated driving in a major German city, according to the company. The goal is 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.
Five e-Golf vehicles were equipped with laser scanners, cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars, and will drive on a section of the digital test bed for automated and connected driving in the city. The results of the test drives will be incorporated in the group’s research projects on automated driving, and will test customer-centric services and optimize individual transport.
Computing power equivalent to some 15 laptops is tucked away in the trunk of the e-Golf. This computing capacity ensures data on pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, intersections, rights of way, parked vehicles and lane changes in moving traffic are captured over the shortest distances and in milliseconds.
For safety reasons, specially trained test drivers will be seated behind the steering wheel during all test drives in Hamburg to constantly monitor all driving functions and intervene in an emergency.
“The tests center on technical possibilities as well as urban infrastructure requirements. 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,” said Axel Heinrich, head of Volkswagen Group Research.
A 9-kilometer digital test bed for automated and connected driving is currently being constructed in the city of Hamburg, with completion scheduled for 2020.