In addition, several US states have approved parts of their road networks for testing certain autonomous systems. Uncomplicated approval procedures – also facilitated by the fact that there is hardly any traffic on endless stretches of highway in Arizona and Nevada – make test fleets with several hundred vehicles possible. Many of the ongoing or planned tests are therefore taking place in the USA.
Even in Germany, there are already
Test courses on public roads
on which autonomous vehicles are allowed to travel. The best known is the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg, which was specially equipped with radar sensors. Since June 2017, test cars have been traveling on the autobahn in the Düsseldorf area and have even been making use of the city’s road network. The experiment “Cooperative Mobility on the Digital Testing Grounds Düsseldorf,” also supported by ZF, runs until June 2019 and costs €14.85 million. The federal government of Germany is contributing €9 million, with the rest coming from the 12 project partners.
What makes this special is that several hundred production vehicles equipped with Mobileye systems are also included in the test in addition to the test vehicles. These systems digitally map the road space. The information is already helping to detect traffic jams and prevent accidents.
But even on the designated test courses, not everyone is allowed to try out whether a technology developed in a proprietary laboratory really works. Only those who, like ZF, are in possession of a sample approval by the European authorities may test their autonomous technologies on the roads of the EU and Switzerland – and only under strict safety conditions.