• 6/28/2016

City council discusses the establishment of testing grounds for autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles on the Garching campus

If the German Innovation Lab (GIL) gets its way, the Garching campus of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) my become one of the first testing sites for autonomous vehicles within the next few years. Last Thursday representatives of GIL presented their plans to the Garching city council.

Visio.M cruises teleoperated - Photo: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
Visio.M cruises teleoperated - Photo: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

While all German automobile manufacturers are working hard on increasingly intelligent automated driver assistance systems, the Google car has stolen the limelight in USA where it is already cruising the public roads without a driver.

Cars of German manufacturers are also underway autonomously but only in restricted areas. On public roads in Germany, legal insurance technicalities require a driver on board who can take over in case of an emergency.

The German Innovation Lab considers the Research Campus Garching ideal as a test environment for a number of reasons. “First off, the property belongs to the State of Bavaria, meaning you are in control of the traffic regulations,” explains speaker Siegfried Balleis. “Second, the largest campus of TU Munich is located in Garching.”

In addition, the proving grounds would be in direct proximity the A9 motorway. The German Ministry of Traffic designated the section of the A9 that runs between Munich and Ingolstadt as a test stretch for highly automated driving in 2015.

“Autonomous and automated driving, together with with drive systems, are the key challenge in road traffic technology. This is also a scientific topic because automated driving can only succeed against the backdrop of complex and reliable sensor and information systems,” says TUM president Wolfgang A. Hermann. “We are in a global competition for the best solutions and that is why it is high time that we tackle this topic. Our research campus in Garching has all the requisite competences.”

Driverless vehicles have been driving for a long time in Garching

Self-driving vehicles are nothing new for the Garching campus. An autonomous Audi Q7 already made its rounds on the campus in the context of the DFG Collaborative Research Center “Cognitive Automobiles” (TRR 28, 2006-2010).

An alternative option is remote controlled driving, which elegantly circumvents the legal and insurance questions of autonomous driving. The Department of Automotive Technology headed by Professor Markus Lienkamp has been active in this field since 2009.

In 2010, visitors of the Long Night of Science had the opportunity to be driven about via remote control in the department’s retrofitted Q7. The Visio.M electric vehicle was also outfitted with remote control capability and unveiled to the public in July 2013.

Even though the first driverless cars are already on the road, before autonomous vehicles become ready for the mass market a lot of research work remains to be done. Professor Markus Lienkamp, chair of the Department of Automotive Engineering openly greets the idea of establishing a testing arena on the Garching campus.

However, this is not only a hot topic for research at TUM. The subject has also found its place in teaching: Since 2014 the Chair of Robotics and Embedded Systems in the Department of Informatics has been offering a course of lectures on autonomous driving.

Students, for their part, have taken up the subject matter in the https://www.tum.de/http://

http://www.phoenix.tum.de/index.php?id=5&L=0 _blank external-link "Opens external link in current window">"Phoenix Robotics" workgroup. The group constructs autonomous model vehicles and has already been successful in international competitions. During the Open House of the Garching Campus, which will take place on October 22, 2016, they will showcase their vehicles for visitors on an obstacle course in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Technical University of Munich

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