BMW Group launches proving ground for automated driving and parking in Sokolov

BMW Group launches proving ground for automated driving and parking in Sokolov

The BMW Group celebrated the launch of its new test site in Sokolov (Czechia), the Future Mobility Development Centre (FMDC).

As the first development location of its kind in central Europe, the FMDC, in which €300 million have been invested, will play a key role in the company’s future mobility development. The surrounding terrain offers the best realworld conditions for testing highly and fully automated driving and parking to supplement the virtual simulation of driving situations. Through this combination of virtual simulation and real-world testing, the BMW Group meets the highest safety requirements of its customers. The FMDC rounds out BMW’s existing group of test sites in Aschheim near Munich, Miramas in France, and Arjeplog in Sweden.

“With our new Future Mobility Development 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 4. On 600 hectares of land, we test all possible driving conditions with maximum flexibility and tremendous efficiency: city, countryside, freeway, as well as automated parking. The special thing: we can run our test modules one after the other without stopping,” said Frank Weber, BMW Board Member for Development.

The new test site not only enables the testing and further development of technological innovations but also stands as an example of how the highest environmental protection and sustainability standards have been consistently integrated in concept and implemented. Throughout the planning and establishment of the proving ground, BMW worked in close cooperation with specialized ecological construction monitoring.

“Making mobility electric, digital, and sustainable goes beyond our vehicles at the BMW Group. We look at the entire value chain, including our own sites. Together with our partners, we were able to develop a former surface mine site here in Sokolov into a modern and efficient test site and create new jobs,” said Ilka Horstmeier, BMW Board Member for People and Real Estate. “The Future Mobility Development Centre and its charging infrastructure are supplied with 100% green electricity from renewable energy sources.”

In addition to the use of green electricity, the site is equipped with an innovative water management system that systematically collects rainwater and uses it for track irrigation. The protection and promotion of the local biodiversity were also considered throughout the planning process: amphibian control systems were installed throughout the site to ensure the safe crossing of animals across the proving ground. 2.2 million cubic meters of soil previously excavated by nearby mining were used to build the site. Thus an area that had lain fallow was recycled for forward-looking technological development.

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