Germany and France said today they will set up a section of highway for testing the next generation of connected and autonomous cars between Merzig and Metz.
Germany’s Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt and his French counterpart Alain Vidalies said the lanes would open before the end of March, but provided no other details regarding the duration or automakers involved. The distance between the two cities by road is 70 kilometres.
“Automated and networked driving systems must not be restricted to states — they must function everywhere,” said Dobrindt. “With the German-French digital test track, we are therefore testing automated driving in cross-border real traffic for the first time.”
Dobrindt said the track will allow carmakers to assess how vehicle-to-vehicle communication works, and let them try out the transition between national telecom networks as cars cross the border.
Germany has already tested such a system on the A9 autobahn in Bavaria and the federal government has promised to spend €100 million on test tracks. The European Commission’s own masterplan sets country’s and carmakers a deadline of 2019 to get tech up to speed for initial applications.