Start of Test Area for Autonomous Driving

Karlsruhe, 31.10.2016 – At the opening event for the test area for autonomous driving Baden-Württemberg (TAF BW) on 31 October, 2016, Winfried Hermann MdL (Member of the Land-tag) handed over the funding agreement in the amount of 2.5 million Euros for the build-up of the test area. Professor J. Marius Zöllner from the FZI Research Center for Information Tech-nology at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology received the agreement on behalf of the con-sortium. “Baden-Württemberg aims to be a pioneer and assert itself in cross-linked and auto-mated driving. Therefore, the Land provides considerable funding in the amount of 5 million Euros for the Test Area as well as future research projects”, said Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport. 

He also stated that autonomous and cross-linked driving is an important topic of the future. “It will define the changes of automotive technology and traffic control for the next couple of dec-ades. In this important development phase, we want to make a statement with the new test area in Baden-Württemberg. The chances are not bad that TAF BW will play an important role in the Franco-German initiative for electric and digital mobility (deutsch-französische Initiative Elektromobilität und Digitalisierung) that was lately announced by Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Transport Minister“, emphasised Hermann.

Franz Loogen, President of the State Agency for Electric Mobility and Fuel Cell Technology Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH, for short e-mobil BW, was optimistic as well. “The new test area does not only give researchers, but also representatives of medium-sized enterprises the pos-sibility to work on future technologies at the highest level and in a practical environment.”

Dr. Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe also held a short speech.

“We are pleased that now we can start building up the test area together. For this purpose, we will conduct further intensive conversations with research and industry partners. After one year, the test area will be put into operation and after further five months, the Karlsruhe Transport Authority (KVV) will take over operations of the test area”, explained Professor Zöllner, leader of the consortium in his speech. “This plan is a milestone in the history of mobil-ity in Baden-Württemberg. It creates a basis for practical testing and the development of new technologies and mobility solutions.”

Minister Hermann added: “Our short-term objective is to increase traffic safety. But we also have to consider to have a good impact on the environment. Autonomous vehicles are sup-posed to create more public transport, not less. Pedestrians and bicyclists should feel safe and not use the car more often out of convenience.” He also stated that everybody should be able to use the test area and all regions and companies in Baden-Württemberg should contribute to its success.

“I am pleased that today this exciting and pioneering project has officially been launched. The KVV is proud to be able to decisively help shaping this promising field of innovation with its know-how in the next five years. I am convinced that autonomous driving will lead into a new era of public transport. With this test area, we will have the great opportunity to refine the KVV and create a mobility network in order to offer our customers services that apply to their indi-vidual mobility demands of the future based on smart solutions”, explained Dr. Alexander Pis-chon, commercial director of the Karlsruhe Transport Authority KVV.

Background information

The basis of the project is the bidding that was advertised on January 15, 2016 for the build-up of a test area for the cross-linked and automated driving of the former Ministry of Finance and Economy. The Ministry of Transport in charge provides 2.5 million Euros for the design, planning and development of the test area. The development has begun in 2016, the first launch is scheduled for 2017.

The second focus of the set of measures includes the joint bidding of the research funding programme “Smart Mobility” of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts as well as the Ministry of Transport. The aim is to promote transdisciplinary research projects that examine fundamental questions about automated and cross-linked driving. These research projects are then meant to support the empirical work on the test area by examining algorithms, hypothe-ses and models. This bidding is based on the specifications of this test area and it is sched-uled for spring 2017.

The consortium is composed of the cities of Karlsruhe, Bruchsal and Heilbronn as well as of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB), and Heilbronn University. The setup of the test area is supported by a great number of partners from industry and science in Baden-Württemberg. The Karlsruhe Transport Authority KVV as an external and neutral operating company enables the operation of the test area. It will be equipped with a safety and security control centre as well as IT administration, sales, accounting and controlling departments.

The download link to the photos corresponding to this press release in web resolution can be found below this press information at The photos may be used only in con-nection with the press release above. The photos in print resolution can be requested by email at from Johanna Häs, FZI. Captions can be found under the corresponding photo in the gallery.

Further information

FZI Research Center for Information Technology 
Johanna Haes 
Phone: +49 721 9654-904 

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) 
Monika Landgraf 
Phone: +49 721 608-47414 

City of Karlsruhe 
Bernd Wnuck 
Phone: +49 721 133-1300 

Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences 
Holger Gust  
Phone: +49 721 925-1016 

City of Bruchsal 
Bernd Killinger 
Phone: +49 7251 79-154 

Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) Thomas Casper 
Phone: +49 7216091-300