Volkswagen Group Research has begun testing automated vehicles in urban traffic in Hamburg. This is the first time VW has begun to test automated driving to Level 4 at real driving conditions in a major German city. Level 4 means the vehicle has a high level of automation and the car can be used without human intervention in most situations.

In VW’s case, a fleet of five e-Golf, equipped with laser scanners, cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars, will drive on a digital test bed for automated and connected driving. The results of the test drives will be incorporated in the Group’s numerous research projects on automated driving.

“The tests centre on technical possibilities as well as urban infrastructure requirements,” said Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research. “In order to make driving even safer and more comfortable in future, vehicles not only have to become autonomous and more intelligent – cities must also provide a digital ecosystem that enables vehicles to communicate with traffic lights and traffic management systems as well as with one another.”

A 9-kilometre digital test bed for automated and connected driving is currently being constructed in Hamburg, with completion scheduled for 2020.

The city is upgrading traffic lights with components for infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.

The e-Golf have 11 laser scanners, seven radars and 14 cameras. VW says up to five gigabytes of data are communicated per minute during the regular test drives, each of which lasts several hours. A large amount of computing power in each car, combined with sensor technology, ensures data on pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, intersections, rights of way, parked vehicles and lane changes in moving traffic are captured over the shortest distances and in milliseconds. To analyse this data, VW says several different artificial intelligence approaches are used, including deep learning, neural networks and pattern recognition.

Source: Motor Trader E-Magazine (May 2019)

13 May 2019

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