Mobility is currently crossing a new – digital – border with increasing interconnection and automation, which allow vehicles to understand each other and to communicate with road infrastructure and other road users. A cross-border test bed between Luxembourg, Germany and France has been established in the context of the development of interconnected and automated mobility in the European Union.
This test bed has been created as a European lighthouse project for promoting the mobility of the future at the heart of Europe. It reflects the shared wish of these three countries to allow for industry, research and academia to trial applications and new technologies in a large area and under real-life conditions on all road types (motorways, non built-up roads, urban environments etc.) across national borders. The unique test bed covers the South of Luxembourg, the North of the Grand Est region in France and the Saarland in Germany.
On Wednesday, 3 April 2019, the “Cross-Border Digital Testbed Project Day” took place in Schengen (Luxembourg). Due to its unique location in the tri-border area, the town of Schengen is considered the birthplace of borderless Europe and a symbolic place of European integration and freedom of movement within the European Union. On the occasion of the “Cross-Border Digital Testbed Project Day”, the first test rides were carried out on the cross-border test bed in the presence of the Ministers of Luxembourg, France and Germany. In order to confirm the safety of the applied technologies, real-time use cases were trialled on a section of the test bed. They simulated situations of autonomous driving and cross-border journeys, during which the vehicles remained connected to their environment.
Étienne Schneider, Vice Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Minister of the Economy:
With several renowned research and development centres in Europe, Luxembourg already has a strategic position in the automotive component suppliers industry. We also want to be a test area for autonomous driving and a country with leading-edge technologies for cross-border cooperative automated and connected driving. Therefore, Luxembourg has already invested massively in the national and international redundant high-speed links, as well as in forward-looking digital infrastructures, for which the future 5G network will be a decisive element.
François Bausch, Minister of Mobility and Public Works of Luxembourg:
Through digitalizing and automating the transport sector, in the future, emissions and traffic jams can be reduced or new on-demand forms of transport can be provided. This is all the more true because automation and connectedness of vehicles have already contributed to increased road safety. For these reasons, Luxembourg, together with France and Germany, has committed itself to establishing a framework for trialling and refining these technologies.
Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany:
The mobility of the future is starting now - and we are in the midst of it. We are trialling the standards of the future on the Franco-German-Luxembourg Digital Test Bed. Automated and connected driving represents an emerging technology. It offers new opportunities for local public transport and connecting rural areas as well as increasing road safety and mitigating climate change in general. Most patents in this field are coming from Europe, especially from Germany. There is no doubt about our joint objective: We want to strengthen this core competency for automotive manufacturing of the 21st century.
Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Transport of France:
The development of autonomous and connected driving is a fantastic opportunity to create more diverse and safer transport services by strengthening solutions in the regions, that are especially adapted to rural areas. In order to achieve this, we have to cooperate at the European level to ensure interoperability and safety. On the one hand, the projects that we presented in Schengen show that we are pursuing ambitious goals, for instance with the TERMINAL project, an autonomous cross-border commuter transport service. On the other hand, they make clear that we do not forget about safety, especially through the presentation of the first results of the TRIICA project assessing the capability of autonomous vehicles to detect varying traffic environments in different countries. The presentation of these projects shows the variety of services that become possible through interconnection.
Anke Rehlinger, Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport of Saarland:
As a hub of the automotive industry, we want to help design the car of tomorrow. It requires courage to break new grounds and willingness to trial new technologies and developments. Autonomous driving is an important building block for the mobility of the future. On the cross-border test bed, we are trialling landmarks on the way towards smart mobility strategies. The findings will help us, for instance, to better adapt the requirements for cross-border local public transport to the customers’ needs. At the same time, we are approaching the gradual retrofitting of local transport to alternative drivetrains.