BMW Group Launches Proving Ground for Automated Driving and Parking in Sokolov​

Aerial view of BMW's new testing facility

In July BMW Group launched their new test site in Sokolov, Czechia named the Future Mobility Development Centre (FMDC). This is the first development of its kind in central Europe and has had 300 million euros invested into it to see the former mining region transformed into an innovation hub employing more than 100 skilled workers. It rounds out BMW’s existing group of test sites which includes Aschheim near Munich, Miramas in France, and Arjeplog in Sweden.

It will pay a key role in the company’s future mobility development with the terrain offering the best real-world conditions for testing highly and fully automated driving and parking and will supplement the virtual simulations of driving situations. The combination of simulations and real-world driving allows BMW Group to continuously meet the highest safety requirements of its customers.

Frank Weber, BMW Board Member for Development said “With our new Future Mobility Development Center, we have created a one-of-a-kind test site, designed exclusively for the highly demanding testing of automated driving and parking up to level 4. On 600 hectares of land, we test all possible driving conditions with maximum flexibility and tremendous efficiency: city, countryside, freeway, as well as automated parking. The special thing: We can run our test modules one after the other without stopping. This makes our testing as realistic, reliable, and customer-oriented as possible.”

During the development and establishment of the site BMW worked closely with specialised ecological construction monitoring. The site is supplied with 100% green electricity from renewable energy sources as the company moves towards decarbonisation of all sites globally. As well as this there is an innovative water management system which collects rainwater and uses it for track irrigation, amphibian control systems were installed to ensure the safe crossing of wildlife across the proving ground, and 2.2 million cubic metres of soil that was previously excavated by nearby mining were used to build the site. This meant that no additional land was sealed and that a fallow area was recycled for forward-looking technological development.