Bundesminister Mag. Jörg Leichtfried in his salutation address has welcomed this initiative and emphasised the importance of safety and automated driving on achieving the strategic agenda zero vision – reducing the number of fatal injuries down to zero. Dr. Othmar Thann, Managing Director at KFV (Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit) emphasised the importance of safety-related evaluation in this emerging field of automated driving in real-world mixed-traffic – including pedestrians and cyclists. KFV's role as independent expert organisation has been confirmed by some 150 international experts attending the conference at Techgate Vienna.
A key result has been the need for more information on automated driving articulated by many stakeholders. Triggered by daily news in international media, currently there seems to be no or only a fine line between progressive signalling of technology readiness and validated bottom-line performance. Klaus Rosino and Sandra Ulrich presented a representative study conducted by KFV: Respondents in Austria want more information on automated driving but they prefer to be informed by independent experts in this field.
Conference participants including speakers and panellists discussed the nitty-gritty of test regions during several break-out sessions while a 90 minutes rides at the Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) Vienna. As a result from the break-out sessions the importance for BMVIT's initiative to invite test regions in Austria has been widely confirmed. Information sharing and knowledge sharing should be enhanced across test regions: requirements, services, test tracks as well as the scope of the test environment – whether one can test only single components or vehicles or validate impacts on traffic system and the quality of living in our urban mobile society.
Test region WienZWA – Zukunft Wird Automatisiert on automated driving was presented by Dr. Walter Aigner und Dr. Wolfgang Schildorfer from WienZWA. This test region WienZWA extends from Airport Vienna (Schwechat) to the Vienna Fair and exhibition grounds (where TRA 2018 will take place). Currently WienZWA is sounding out the feasibility of an open European test lab with an integrative stakeholder perspective lab for the larger Vienna metropolitan area. WienZWA offers all stakeholders testing facilities in real-world mixed-traffic on a heterogeneous road network from Europe's finest C-ITS-equipped highway corridor to complex urban pedestrian crossings. All this is leveraging Austrian strengths within a joint European effort to bringing DG MOVE's roadmap on connected and automated driving to reality. This will prove a worthwhile initiative for Vienna to remain the most livable city globally and receive its fair share from the global industry of attractive sustainable research and development facilities; some 60 people are expected to work here soon.
A special feature in WienZWA has been the consortium members. Partners are Andata, KFV, HiTec and Swarco Futurit – all champions in their respective fields have joined to strengthen Austrian competence and international visibility. This independent open European testing facility supports Vienna's chances to continuingly stay ahead in the global ranking on the most livable city.