Tech park in Malaga will be the European benchmark for testing driverless and connected cars

The test circuit, which is already finished, has all the features of urban roads and simulated buildings.
The test circuit, which is already finished, has all the features of urban roads and simulated buildings. / SUR
  • Telefónica and Dekra unveiled the test track, which will be equipped with 5G from October and inaugurated by the end of the year

A test track in the newer, northern part of the Andalusian Technological Park is to be used for the testing of the European driverless and connected cars of the future, thanks to an agreement between the Spanish Telefónica company and the German Dekra firm (which has a presence at the Malaga technology hub through its subsidiary AT4), and in collaboration with the regional government and Malaga city hall.

The objective is for these facilities to become a centre for the certification of innovations in Europe, featuring V2X technology for communications between vehicles and their environment, namely other traffic, pedestrians, the road, service stations, signs, traffic lights, tolls etc.

Two areas will be set up for this purpose: the outdoor circuit, which has already been built and will be used for concept trials and the use of 5G with Spanish frequency settings, in an almost-real scenario (the streets, pavements, buildings, signs and urban furniture will be simulated).

At the same time there will be a hangar, a type of laboratory, with a network for companies and researchers from countries that use different frequencies.

The first lines of activity in the Malaga base will include connectivity and on-board services; advanced navigation; monitoring and maintenance of the vehicle; automisation of payments; safety and accident prevention; assisted steering and, the final stage, the autonomous vehicle.

The circuit will be inaugurated before the end of the year, although the 5G network will be available from next month so the companies can start work straight away, said María Jesús Almazor.

"There will be very real testing of all the features of the connected and autonomous vehicle, and that means that international companies who are finalising products for connected vehicles will come here," she said. She also stressed that this will be "a pioneering environment and will make Malaga a benchmark in connected vehicles at an international level".

Visibility for Malaga

Ivo Rauh said that Dekra, with its 47,000 employees, is the leading vehicle inspection company and aims to be the world benchmark for certification of autonomous and connected cars. In his opinion, this is "a new dimension to a technology that is gigantic. Nobody knows where it will end, and where cooperation between companies is necessary".

The mayor said he was convinced that this resource will "raise Malaga's profile in the field of technology" and he applauded the entrepreneurial aspect of the initiative, because the forthcoming conference of Malaga business accelerator, La Farola (in which Telefónica is participating together with Malaga council and the Andalusian government,) will be giving priority to projects based on these technologies.

The regional Economy minister placed the focus on the development of 5G in the city, which he said is going to have a major impact on business and industry in Malaga, given that it will enable "more and better services to be supplied in the Internet of things, robotics and autonomous mobility".