BMW Launches New 600-Hectare Site for Testing Automated Driving & Parking Tech

Alexi Falson

BMW has opened the doors to its largest test facility to date, with a 600-hectare zone in the Czech Republic tasked with refining the company’s automated driving and parking systems.

Located in Sokolov, Czechia, BMW’s Future Mobility Development Center represents a 300m-euro investment on the part of BMW, with the company saying it will employ around 100 locals in the area that were previously put to work in surrounding mines.

The investments and subsequent new site will allow BMW to conduct a range of automated driving tests on new technology and sensors without ever hitting the public roads, and has been created to replicate a number of real-world environments.

BMW says that the Future Mobility test site will be powered entirely by renewable energy, including the on-site electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“With our new centre, we have created a one-of-a-kind test site, designed exclusively for the highly demanding testing of automated driving and parking up to level four,” says BMW’s Board Member for Development, Frank Weber.

“On 600 hectates of land, we test all possible driving conditions with maximum flexibility and tremendous efficienccy; city, countryside, freeway, as well as automated parking.”

“The special thing: we can run our test modules one after the other without stopping,” he added, concluding that “this makes our testing as realistic, reliable and customer-oriented as possible.”

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