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International group opens next-generation car test track on Costa

The test area simulates an urban road environment, with crossings and traffic lights.
The test area simulates an urban road environment, with crossings and traffic lights. / N.T.
  • The DEKRA facility was launched at Malaga's PTA just days before the large high-tech business park celebrated its 25th anniversary

Since last month the Costa del Sol has been home to an advanced-car trial track for the testing of next-generation connected and driverless cars.

German-based multinational DEKRA, which specialises in providing expert testing solutions for the world's car industry, opened its new facility on 24 November at Malaga's high-tech business campus, Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía (PTA).

The track covers an area of 50,000 square metres and simulates public roads, complete with crossroads, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and even tunnels. It is set to be a key part of an international network of test sites and the first cars to use it were from BMW.

Car manufacturers are now well advanced in their plans for more automated-driving. From next March, all cars in Europe will need to be fitted with eCall automatic emergency calling technology. Moreover, new 'vehicle-to-everything' technology (V2X) means that driverless vehicles are a real possibility for the first time.

According to head of DEKRA Testing & Certification in Malaga, Fernando Hardasmal, “The testing areas will check the generation and reception of signalling messages, as well as the warning messages that drivers receive from the different technology.”

Anniversary of PTA

The opening of the new track came just a few days before Malaga's PTA celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.

The technology park, just outside Malaga in Campanillas, is now home to 635 companies, 10 per cent of which are from overseas. It is estimated that twenty per cent of the city's economic activity is generated through the 18,000 people who work there every day.

Last Monday local and regional dignitaries gathered to mark the milestone anniversary.