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Europe’s most diverse test environment for self-driving cars is being developed in Styria. Under the name “ALP.Lab”, research facilities and industrial companies of the Styrian automotive cluster are pooling their expertise to develop and test automated driving systems in a grand style. The possibilities are many sided and unique. Not only tests on private tracks, but also test drives on motorways and in the Graz city area can be carried out. On top of this, modern simulators and trade-fair stands are available. AVL List, Magna Steyr, the VIRTUAL VEHICLE competence centre, Joanneum Research and TU Graz are involved in the project The Ministry for Infrastructure is supporting the ALP.Lab test environment and two research projects to the overall amount of 5.6 million euros.
“The first test drive was carried out on an Austrian road less than a year ago. Now we’re making Europe’s most diverse testing area for autonomous vehicles. In ALP.Lab Austrian automotive and supplier companies can develop their know-how to include self-driving cars. In this way we’ll strengthen the location and safeguard jobs,” says minister for infrastructure Jörg Leichtfried.
Horst Bischof, Vice Rector for Research at TU Graz: “What is so special about ALP.Lab is the dense concentration of all the key players involved in Styrian automotive research for the benefit of the whole Austrian automotive and supplier industry. TU Graz won’t just be contributing its excellent know-how to the innovation lab, among other things in sensor systems and computer vision, but it’ll also be the physical home of the ALP.Lab.”
“AVL tests and validates modern advanced driver assistance systems and requires a suitable test environment in order to best achieve goals like safety, comfort and reduced consumption during autonomous driving. That the federal ministry will be funding ALP.Lab is an important step for the development of the Styrian pioneer role in the field of automated driving and will support us in our plan to make roads safer in the future by developing advanced driver assistance systems,” says AVL CEO Helmut List.
“To live up to the claim of MAGNA Steyr as a complete vehicle supplier, the integration of highly and fully automated driving functions and the overall grasping of traffic situations is essential. This combination of vehicle and environmental data on a high-precision map provides an ideal basis to develop a safe, reliable and comfortable automated vehicle for our customers,” says Dieter Althaus, Vice President Governmental Affairs at Magna Europe.
ALP.Lab combines the whole test chain in one location – from the first simulations to tests on test rigs, and finally drives on private or public test tracks. Tests will be carried out on the ASFINAG test track on the A2 between Graz-West and Laßnitzhöhe and between St. Michael and the Slovenian border. In the coming year test drives will also take place in Graz city traffic. Driving behaviour in a motorway tunnel can be tested in the research facility “Zentrum am Berg”. The Red Bull Ring, too, is available for tests in the winter months.
Two research projects will also be funded by the Ministry for Infrastructure in the framework of ALP.Lab. In “Dynamic Ground Truth”, AVL List, Joanneum Research, VIRTUAL VEHICLE, TU Graz, TTTech and Vexcel are developing a high-precision measuring and reference system regarding reliable recognition of the environment. The project will receive 1 million euros from the Ministry for Infrastructure. In the LiDcAR project, Infineon, VIRTUAL VEHICLE and TU Wien will be working on sensors for measuring distances and speed for self-driving cars. The project is being supported by the Ministry for Infrastructure to the amount of 600,000 euros. Furthermore, the auto.Bus – Seestadt project is receiving 750,000 euros for tests on self-driving buses in the Vienna urban development area Aspern to improve the public transport connection.