Highly automated driving will have achieved technical maturity before 2020. That is the result of a study carried out by Fraunhofer IAO and other partners on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The authors also anticipate value creation in Germany amounting to 8.8 billion euros for the year 2025. Creating the legal framework and developing infrastructure represent major challenges.
Highly automated driving on Germany's autobahns will be technically possible by 2020 and offers great opportunities for value and job creation. This is the key result of the "Highly automated driving on Germany's autobahns -- industrial policy conclusions" expert report carried out on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi by Fraunhofer IAO and its partners, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communications Systems FOKUS, mm1 consultancy, and the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility IKEM.
Considerable potential to create value and jobs
The expert report indicates that implementing highly automated driving functions on German autobahns will be possible by 2020 at the latest. Driverless vehicles, however, are not to be expected on public roads until well after that time. If German automakers and suppliers maintain their current levels of market share and locations, the experts forecast value creation amounting to nearly 2.3 billion euros in 2020 and around 8.8 billion euros in 2025. This is equivalent to 16 times the current value of some 546 million euros and would generate around 120,000 jobs. Roughly half of the value and job creation would be in the area of software (development of functions and algorithms, validation and data analysis). What's more, automated driving holds out great potential for optimizing the transportationsystem and reducing the external costs of road transportation.
Germany is in a very good starting position -- massive competitive pressure expected
Germany's automotive industry is currently the world's leading provider of driver assistance systems and related technologies, the results of the expert report indicate. Given their high market share in the area of premium and luxury vehicles, German manufacturers are set to be the leading provider for highly automated vehicles in the future as well. The high number of relevant patent registrations and publications from Germany also speak for the country's innovative strength. At the same time, German automakers can expect massive competitive pressure from new competitors and as a result of active industrial policy in competitor countries.
Industry and policymakers must coordinate their actions
According to the study, the biggest obstacles to the general adoption and operation of highly automated vehicles are the unresolved legal issues they face. The expert report addresses this problem with specific recommendations. For highly automated driving to function properly, it is equally important to establish a powerful mobile data network covering the entire autobahn network and to build up smart transportation infrastructure. Another fundamental step is to test the functional safety of higher degrees of automation in trials and tackle the major technical development challenges (including testing and release functions and human-machine interface optimization) as soon as possible.
Materials provided by Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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