Research on autonomous vehicles is going well so far; Google is hard at work on its small pod that looks like a koala’s head, BMW is partnering with Chinese giant Baidu to use its GPS data and Volvo intends to use the technology to make sure no one dies or is seriously injured in one of their cars from 2020 onward.
However, other German manufacturers like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz don’t want to depend on Google and Baidu to feed data to their computers. Stating that they need to keep their technological independence, they asked for the help of the German government to test their tech in real-time.
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Alexander Dobrindt, Minister of Transport, approved of the refurbishing of a section of the Autobahn (more specifically the A9 near Bavaria) for the use of autonomous cars. Changes will include the cleanup of the radio waves (since cars communicate with each other at a frequency of 700 MHz, this particular range will have to be free of all interference) and an upgrade of the Internet network in the area. This will help the onboard computers download their map and traffic data faster.
For now, tests on the Autobahn will be limited to advanced driving aids, but we will soon see high-powered German sedans flying down the highway without anyone behind the wheel.