Germany became the latest country to actively support the development and deployment of autonomous and partially autonomous cars on Monday by outlining its plans for a driverless car route pilot project to take place between the cities of Munich and Berlin.
As Bloomberg reports, the German’s Transportation Ministry spokesperson Ingo Strater said that a portion of the A9 autobahn connecting the two major cities would be retrofitted in the coming months with technology to enable driverless cars to not only use the road, but communicate with other autonomous cars and the road infrastructure while doing so.
“The German auto industry has recognised that this field is developing,” he said at an official press conference. “We want to support that.”
The project, currently undergoing final planning, would not only be Germany’s first foray into legalising autonomous vehicle testing on the public highway but also represent what we think will be the first time an autonomous car has been used on Germany’s famous road network where some stretches have no official speed limit.
Like an increasing number of U.S. states and countries like Japan and the UK, Germany sees autonomous driving as a way to help reduce road traffic accidents and improve traffic flow while simultaneously reducing tailpipe emissions. If successful, this project will pave the way for production self-driving cars within as little as five years.
Germany’s first autonomous driving project will also no doubt be welcomed by luxury brands Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW, all of whom are native to the country but to date have been forced to conduct real-world tests of their self-driving prototype cars on the roads of California, Florida and Nevada.
Earlier this month, Audi demonstrated its piloted driving concept technology was ready for real-world application by letting its A7 Piloted Drive prototype car drive itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas without incident in time for CES 2015. At the same show, BMW demonstrated its autonomous valet parking technology, promising a future where you’ll never have to waste time hunting for a parking spot again.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s famous Model S electric sedan now comes with all the on-board sensors it needs to make autonomous driving a future reality, with autonomous or ‘auto-pilot’ features promised in future car software updates.
At the moment, the final details of the project specifying the location and cost of the autonomous-drive portion of the A9 have yet to be announced. But with autonomous car technology proving itself to be the buzz word of the moment in the automotive world, expect a final announcement in relatively short order.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.