Bavarian Parliament’s meeting on “autonomous driving”
At a public meeting of the Committee on Economic and Media Affairs, Infrastructure, Building and Transport, Energy and Technology of the Bavarian State Parliament dedicated to “autonomous driving,” attended by universities, businesses, data protection officers and associations, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) emphasized the following:
“In the next ten to 20 years, combination of the four megatrends – multimodal mobility, electrification, connectivity and automation – will have a significant influence on the automotive industry. During this process, connected and automated driving will become a major force for innovation in the industry. Over the next three to four years, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers within the German automotive industry will invest 16 to 18 billion euro in research and development in this field.
The automotive industry accounts for approx. 34 billion euro, i.e. a good third of all industrial research expenditure in Germany. According to the European Commission, the automotive industry in our country also makes up one third of the total global research and development spending in the sector.
The automotive industry welcomes the fact that the Bavarian State Parliament is placing a regional political focus on one of the megatrends – automated driving. The VDA is grateful for the opportunity to present its position at the meeting of the Bavarian State Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Media Affairs, Infrastructure, Building and Transport, Energy and Technology. The German automotive industry, a key sector in Germany, has to be able to maintain its pioneering role in technology as an opportunity for Germany as a business location. One can only support the policy-makers when they use the introduction of new technologies for opportunity-oriented discussions. The important aspect here is the framework conditions for Germany as a leading provider and leading market for innovations surrounding mobility.
This should benefit Germany and Bavaria in the coming decade. Today the German automotive industry employs a regular workforce of 800,000 people. Its domestic sales come to 131 billion euro, which is 36 percent of its worldwide sales. A total of 5.7 million passenger cars are produced at home, and another 9.5 million cars in other countries.
One major force driving the ongoing development of innovative vehicle technologies is the increasing safety, efficiency and comfort of road traffic.
Innovations and the continual development of safety systems represent the greatest contributing factor in reducing the number of fatalities on German roads by 65 percent over the last 20 years, from 9,814 (in 1994) to 3,368 (in 2014). Today human error is involved in around 90 percent of road accidents.
Support for vehicle drivers, and reducing the human factor in situations where motorists have either too little or too much to do, will bring about significant improvements in this area. Technological developments, such as information technology and automation, can and will be helpful wherever human beings come up against their limits. For example, automated driving will be one of these aids on the path towards “Vision Zero” – a mobile world without road accidents.
The German automotive industry will introduce automated driving in a series of evolutionary steps, from assisted driving to partially and highly automated driving, and all the way to fully automated and ultimately driverless driving. Today many driver assistance functions already exist, for instance to regulate the vehicle’s speed or distance from the vehicle in front, or to support the driver during emergency braking or maneuvering.
In a few years from now, the first vehicles will be equipped with the necessary sensors, actuators and an ability to process information – the functions that make highly and fully automated driving possible. Initially these automated driving functions may be expected to be deployed on highways and in congestion, and for parking. In the more distant future, support will extend to more journeys on other roads and in urban areas.
National and international legal frameworks will need to be adapted for the approval and use of automated driving functions, and the aim should be for international harmonization.
Automated driving will improve both road safety and the efficiency of road traffic. A survey found that 37 percent of respondents see automated driving leading to greater safety, fewer accidents and less congestion. Fifty-five percent have a positive attitude towards automated driving (source: TNS study 09/2015 for the VDA). The majority thought that one particular automotive manufacturer might possibly build the first and also the most successful automated car. The German automotive industry leads the world in driver assistance systems, and it also intends to lead in automated driving.
The VDA supports the German Government’s strategy for the introduction of connected and automated driving, and welcomes Bavaria’s commitment to advancing this process.”