BMW has a new testing center. Last week, the Bavarians hosted an official media event in Solokov, Czech Republic, where BMW will test its self-driving systems. The testing facility is expected to be fully operational by mid-2023 and will have more than 100 employees working on site. The New Technology Area, an approx. 90,000 m² homologation-capable area with three separate run-up tracks, provides optimal conditions for testing assistance systems and behaviour in cross traffic as well as emergency braking and evasive situations. The tests are prepared and controlled from the adjoining control room with temporary workstations.

Wide Range of Tests

Today, new photos showcase some of the BMW autonomous driving tests. We can see the new BMW 7 Series (G70), the purely electric BMW iX (i20) , the BMW X1 (U11) and the 2 Series Active Tourer (U06) going through a series of testing scenarios. The simulations include both highway and roads tests, including on- and off-ramp scenarios for testing autonomous vehicles on motorways. The test motorway has been equipped with two functional lanes and an emergency stop lane as well as gantries and a straight stretch measuring over 1,000 meters.

The next step in BMW’s journey of self-driving will revolve around the new 7 Series. Level 3 will arrive in certain markets and will be featured first in the luxury limousine. BMW’s Level 3 self-driving system will be limited to highway use in moderate traffic, at speeds up to 60 km/h (37 mph). The idea is that it can completely take the hassle out of driving in traffic, allowing the car to do the boring stuff for you. BMW claims customers will able to have time for reading, sending emails, entertainment, or even just relaxation.

The proving ground in the Karlovy Vary region is about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Centre (FIZ), in Munich. In contrast, BMW runs two other testing facilities in Miramas, Southern France, and Arjeplog, Northern Sweden. Both are far more remote locations than Solokov.