On April 3, 2019, Hamburg became a Volkswagen test sight for automated vehicles in urban traffic. This marks the first time Volkswagen has tested automated driving in real traffic conditions in a major German city.
Volkswagen developed a fleet of five e-Golfs to drive through a three-kilometre section of Hamburg’s city centre selected for automated- and connected-driving. The area is expected to span nine kilometres by 2020, and will provide the digital infrastructure necessary for communication between vehicles and their environment (e.g. traffic lights).
A number of innovative mobility projects in Hamburg are transforming the city into a model urban environment for intelligent mobility, and Volkswagen’s presence in particular is a decisive step in furthering both the optimisation of traffic flow and the full-size implementation of automated driving. The numerous test drives completed for these projects will enable researchers to gather indispensable data, which will be put to use making vehicles fully autonomous and more intelligent ― resulting in a safer and more comfortable driving experience.
To enable seamless autonomous driving, all five e-Golfs are equipped with eleven laser scanners, seven radars and 14 cameras. Up to 5GB of data are communicated per minute during test drives. Computing power equivalent to some 15 laptops is tucked away in the trunk of every car, ensuring that data on pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, intersections, rights of way, parked vehicles, and lane changes in moving traffic are captured and stored in milliseconds. For safety reasons, specially trained test drivers will be seated behind the steering wheel during all test drives, ready to intervene in case of emergency.
The goal of these tests is to offer customers concrete products for the automated transport of goods and passengers on public roads within a few years. This will contribute to lasting improvements in traffic flows and road safety.