Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have made it clear that they don't want to rely on Google or other companies to develop self-driving technology or the data that's involved, and now the German government is stepping in to facilitate things with a plan to establish a section of the autobahn for autonomous vehicle testing.
Germany's Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt announced today that a portion of the A9, which connects Berlin and Munich, will be set up for autonomous vehicle testing this year. Part of that effort will include the creation of an infrastructure to support vehicle-to-vehicle communication, including freeing up part of the 700 MHz spectrum so the cars can chat with one another.
This is a similar approach to other programs in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan, but it marks the first time a country has designated a specific section of public highway to test the technology. However, it's more about asserting Germany's technical independence from Google and other companies working the autonomous vehicle space.
"The German manufacturers will not rely on Google," Dobrindt told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "We must guard against the monopolization of the data. We must create for ourselves a digital sovereignty, regardless of the Americas and Asia." Yes, #digitalsovereignty.