Cruising Chauffeur

Test Field Lower Saxony: Continental Expands Automated Driving Tests on the Autobahn

The Continental engineers are now also testing their test vehicles on autobahns in Lower Saxony. On January 7, 2020, the so-called Lower Saxony test field on the A39 near Cremlingen was officially commissioned. The test field covers 280 kilometres on the A2, A39, A391 autobahn as well as several highways and routes in Lower Saxony.

The developers test the systems of the test vehicles under real traffic conditions on Germany's autobahns. The prototypes are always monitored and operated by a development expert in the driver's seat. Continental develops sensors, vehicle computers, operating systems, and software for automated driving, particularly in Japan, China, the U.S.A., and Germany.

Autobahn, city, and parking – tripartite technology development

In addition to the production readiness of highly automated driving, Continental is also working on fully automated driving on the autobahn by 2025. Highly automated autobahn driving, in and of itself, is designed to allow car drivers to temporarily focus their minds on activities other than driving. With fully automated driving, this should be possible for sections of the route without the driver having to act as a fallback mode at all. Continental also believes in autonomous driving. With its test platform Continental Urban Mobility Experience, the technology company tests systems for driverless robo‑taxis in the city. Automated and autonomous parking is also being developed to be ready for production. The goal is seamless, automated mobility without accidents.

The Continental developers test the systems of the test vehicles under real traffic conditions on Germany's autobahns. © Continental AG

Next exit: highway

In the future, Lower Saxony will be particularly suitable as a test field for the test drives of the test vehicle Cruising Chauffeur. The planned routes include not only sections of the autobahn but also highways and routes through the city for subsequent test intervals. Having concentrated on automated driving on the autobahn in recent years, Continental is now embarking on the next step in the medium term: the rather more complex highway. “On highways, our systems have to cope with traffic that crosses the vehicle's path, the vastly differing edges, and, just like in the city, with pedestrians and cyclists. This places high demands on our systems,” says Lauxmann as he explains the requirements the technology must meet.