The car maker Volkswagen has announced a self-driving pilot program on the streets of a German city
Volkswagen announced on Wednesday that it has started testing out its Level 4 automation prototype self-driving vehicles in Hamburg. The vehicles in question are e-Golf cars that are designed to handle complex urban traffic patterns without help from drivers. The cars will be test driving 3 km of Hamburg streets where new signals and other traffic management systems have been installed to facilitate autonomous driving.
The five electric Volkswagen vehicles feature the latest in autonomous technology and have laser scanners, radars, ultrasonic sensors and cameras. However, test drivers will be behind the car’s steering wheel to monitor performance and take control in case of emergency.
The goal of the city is to upgrade another 6 km of the city’s streets by 2020 with new infrastructure to allow vehicles and traffic management systems to communicate with one another. The head of Volkswagen Group research, Axel Heinrich, stated:
“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.
Autonomous driving can actually be tested anywhere in Germany, under proper conditions, of course, but actual “test beds” like the one in Hamburg can be observed by policymakers, while responsibility for the tests rests with users. The German government is funding similar “test beds”, or sites, in Braunschweig, Berlin, Dresden, Ingolstadt, Düsseldorf and Munich.