German chancellor Angela Merkel, deputy prime minister of the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg Thomas Strobl, and guests from politics and business attended an opening ceremony for Daimler’s new state-of-the-art, €200m (US234.2m) Test and Technology Center in Immendingen, Germany.
“Immendingen will play a key role in developing the mobility of the future: here, we are bringing together our worldwide vehicle testing and will, among other things, further develop alternatively driven vehicles systems such as hybrid and electric vehicles under the EQ brand, as well as testing future assistance systems and autonomous driving functions,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management at Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Construction for the facility, which covers an area of 520ha, began in spring 2015. Testing and development work will focus on four key areas – connectivity, autonomous driving, shared mobility and electric vehicles. Approximately 300 new jobs will be created.
Strobl said, “The automotive future and the future of Baden-Wuerttemberg are profoundly linked. In this state the car was invented – that’s our motivation to lead the innovation. We want to develop Baden-Wuerttemberg into the most innovative mobility region in Europe. Daimler’s new, state-of-the-art Immendingen Test and Technology Center is a positive and very important signal to further strengthen the technology cluster in Baden-Wuerttemberg.”
Added Ola Källenius, member of the board of management at Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars research and development, “High-tech vehicles require high-tech testing. The Test and Technology Center in Immendingen offers us many possibilities to test and optimize new technologies, including alternative drive systems and driver assistance systems. At the same time, we can reduce traffic on the roads, for example by moving durability testing to the test site.”
Following an extensive selection process during which about 120 sites were considered all over Baden-Wuerttemberg, Daimler decided in 2011 to build the facility on the Immendingen site, a former German Army training area.
From the beginning of the project the company received support from the municipality and the citizens of Immendingen. The first area, the uneven dirt track, was opened in September 2016. By opening the facility in phases, testing has been able to continue without any interruption.
Facilities on-site include a bertha area covering 100,000m², designed for testing autonomous vehicles. Here challenging and complex traffic situations can be reproduced.
There’s also an urban district area with 1.5km of roads and intersections where driver assistance systems, C2X communication and autonomous vehicle technologies can be evaluated.
To protect the local nature and the environment, Daimler has partnered with local associations on conservation. Habitats for plants and animals have been created on the Immendingen site and some areas have been reforested and planted. In addition, a wildlife passage crosses over the entire site. Daimler is carrying out offsetting and replacement measures in accordance with nature conservation law on an area of 625ha.
Due to the rapid approval phase, the short construction period and the open and transparent overall process, the Test and Technology Center has been regarded as a model for future major construction projects in Germany.