Section of A9 Autobahn to be used for testing self-driving vehicles

Article by Andrew Christian, on January 30, 2015

An experiment is underway to test self-driving vehicles on a portion of the A9 autobahn that connect Berlin and Munich, according to Transportation Ministry spokesman Ingo Strater. The experiment would the first to be done on a stretch of public highway, an unrestricted one nonetheless. Strater remarked that the German auto industry has recognized that field of driverless vehicles is developing, adding that the government would want to support that.

The driverless section in the autobahn underscores the current push for cars that don’t need the drivers’ intervention when on the move. According to Strater, the project would allow autonomous cars cruising on the test section of the autobahn to communicate with each other as well as with the infrastructure itself. He said that the goal will be to link the road and the vehicles to cut traffic jams and improve road safety.

The autonomous autobahn project will initially include testing sensors, measuring systems and vehicle communication, according to the Transport Ministry. The first autonomous car to cruise the autobahn may not happen before the end of the year.

Autonomous vehicles will also be tested in three cities in the United Kingdom. Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the F015 self-driving luxury concept, which features swivel seats that allows the driver and passengers to face each other.

Likewise, Audi tested an unmanned RS7 at a track at racing speeds in 2014. In the United States, tech giant Google has been testing its driverless cars on California roads. Ford Motor Co. chief executive Mark Fields has remarked that a carmaker would be offering autonomous vehicles on the market within five years.

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