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European consortium launches 4-year, $80M L3Pilot research project to test Level 3, 4 autonomous driving in 11 countries

A European research consortium under the management of the Volkswagen Group launched the four-year L3Pilot project to test the viability of automated driving as a safe and efficient means of transportation. The project focuses on large-scale piloting of SAE Level 3 functions, with additional assessment of some Level 4 functions.

Thirteen European automobile manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes and universities, and small and mid-sized companies will operate 100 vehicles with 1,000 drivers under real conditions and in a wide range of applications.

The technologies being tested include a broad spectrum—from parking and overtaking to driving in complex city traffic. Overall, the project will collect data in eleven European countries for assessing technical aspects, user acceptance, driving and travel behavior, and the impact of these systems on traffic and society. The broad spectrum of driving situations means that L3Pilot is the first project worldwide to implement and test such comprehensive functions of automated driving in practice.


We are confident that the research initiative L3Pilot will create a broadly based and comprehensive platform for realisation of mobility in the future. The strong integration of the entire European automobile industry and the scientific support by experts in the areas of mobility and automated vehicles will drive this initiative forward and make it successful.

—Aria Etemad from Volkswagen Group Research, project coordinator L3Pilot

Alongside technical development, statutory framework conditions for vehicle manufacturers and drivers are being analysed. The focus is on product liability and road traffic regulations.

This pioneering project is the biggest EU-sponsored project of its kind. The project budget has been set at €68 million (US$80 million) and is being supported by the European Commission with €36 million (US$42.5 million).

The research project L3Pilot includes the following partners:

Vehicle manufacturers: Volkswagen AG (coordinator), Audi AG, BMW Group, Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA, Daimler AG, Ford, Honda R&D Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel Automobile GmbH, Groupe PSA, Renault, Toyota Motor Europe, Volvo Car Corporation

Suppliers: Autoliv, Delphi Deutschland GmbH, FEV Group GmbH

Research institutes and universities: German Aerospace Center (DLR), ika RWTH Aachen University, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems ICCS, SAFER, SNF - Centre for Applied Research at NHH, University of Leeds, University of Warwick, Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), University of Genoa, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Würzburger Institut für Verkehrswissenschaften GmbH (WIVW Center for Traffic Sciences)

Authorities: The Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW

User Groups: Federation Internationale de l’Automobile FIA

Insurers: AZT Automotive GmbH, Swiss Reinsurance Company

Small and mid-sized companies: ADAS Management Consulting, European Center for Information and Communication Technologies EICT GmbH


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