BMW Group offers a first glimpse of the new development site in Sokolov

With early deployment of two track sections, BMW Group is developing test scenarios for new assistance systems for autonomous driving

The early commissioning of two test areas marks an important milestone in the construction of the BMW Group’s first development site in Central Europe. The Group is presenting the first two track sections for testing autonomous vehicles and assistance systems to political and media guests at the new BMW Group Future Mobility Center in Sokolov. At the new test site, the BMW Group will continue to promote groundbreaking topics such as electrification, digitalization and automated driving. The test site in the Karlovy Vary region is approximately two and a half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Center (FIZ), in Munich.

With the launch of the two test tracks and an exclusive insight into its testing activities, the BMW Group will present the first results of its 300 million euro investment in Sokolov. The test facility is expected to be fully operational by mid-2023 and will have more than 100 employees on site. The New Technology Area, an approx. 90,000 m² suitable for homologation area with three separate approach tracks, offers optimum conditions for testing assistance systems and behavior in crossing traffic, as well as emergency braking and evasive situations. The tests are prepared and controlled from the adjacent control room with temporary workplaces.

“With the early deployment of two track sections in preparation for official vehicle testing in Solokov, we are now testing new assistance systems from a driver’s safety point of view and promoting further development of test scenarios. From mid-2023, the new test site in the Czech Republic will be used to complement the BMW Group’s existing test facilities in Aschheim near Munich, Miramas in France and Arjeplog in Sweden,” explains Andreas Heb, BMW Group project manager responsible for testing, from. land in Sokolov.

In the immediate vicinity of the New Technology Area is the six-kilometer Autonomous Driving Highway, a highway-style circuit with entrance and exit scenarios for testing autonomous vehicles on highways. The test highway is equipped with two functional lanes and an emergency stop lane, as well as portals and a straight section of more than 1,000 meters. “The BMW Group’s first development site in Central Europe creates new opportunities. Sokolov offers ideal conditions and suitable grounds to expand our test sites. The trusting cooperation with property owner Sokolovská uhelná and all political representatives confirms that our choice of a new location is the right one,” said Robert Thurner, BMW Group Head of Real Estate Management Region Europe, Middle East, Proving Ground.


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