Volkswagen begins collecting anonymised data to further develop assisted driving in Germany

Jan 8, 2020   Technology

Starting signal for a forward-looking cooperative project called “Testfeld Niedersachsen” (Lower Saxony Testing Area) on the A39 motorway (Autobahn 39) between the Wolfsburg-Königslutter junction and the municipality of Cremlingen, a seven kilometre-long test track for collecting traffic flow information has been opened.

On the section operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), cameras will record anonymised data on the driving behaviour of different kinds of road users. Using the stretch of road, which has been financed by the State of Lower Saxony and the DLR, Volkswagen hoped to gather new knowledge for the purposes of assisted driving.

Last year, the DLR installed the data collection technology along the stretch of road, with which all vehicle positions are precisely measured in order to record all traffic events. Volkswagen will use the information to improve assisted driving software. The testing area is an open research and development platform that offers a unique combination of different testing options, such as the simulation of various traffic flows.

Dr. Frank Welsch, Chief Development Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, emphasised the importance of the test track: “In order to research assisted driving, data from standard daily traffic is absolutely necessary. The Lower Saxony testing area allows us not only to collect such data in a completely real-world environment, but also to expand on it using simulations.”

The data will be collected along the stretch of road in an anonymised fashion, such that only so-called trajectories can be evaluated and no data specific to individual vehicles is collected such as license plates or the driver’s face. Trajectories are the straight lines and curves that describe the vehicle movements only.

Beyond the data collection technology, pWLAN technology has also been installed for development purposes. It enables the direct communication between vehicles and with the traffic infrastructure. This so-called Car2X technology is already standard equipment on the new Golf and will be used in future on the ID.3.

Guests at the opening of the Lower Saxony Testing Area included the Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, Transport and Digitalisation of Lower Saxony and Deputy Minister-President Bernd Althusmann, the Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Björn Thümler, and the member of German Parliament Thomas Jarzombek who serves as the federal government’s coordinator for German Aerospace and Digitalisation.

The DLR project is financed by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour, Transport and Digitalisation of Lower Saxony, as well as the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. Along with Volkswagen, the measurement data from the stretch of the A39 motorway will also be used by Continental AG, Wolfsburg AG, IAV GmbH, OECON GmbH, ADAC Niedersachsen/Sachsen-Anhalt e.V., NordSys GmbH and Siemens AG.

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