Back to Sweden again recently, where I got a chance to visit a very interesting place – the ASTAZero proving ground, nearing completion in time for its official opening next year.
This is a joint collaboration between Swedish governmental institutions, industry, and academia – but with a focus on international development of traffic safety systems. It’s big, with a total paved surface area of some 250,000 square metres.
So, it’s a new proving ground. So what? Well the difference here is the nature of the testing that is at the heart of ASTA’s mission. For the first time a facility is being built completely dedicated to the development of active safety systems.
Here’s a bit from their brochure: “…a testbed for advanced active safety where almost any conceivable kind of test will be possible, whether to examine the functions of, for example, autonomous or connected vehicles, platooning, or driver behaviour.”
Some interesting words being used here – ‘platooning’ in particular. I always wondered what term would be applied to groups of connected vehicles, travelling within a few centimetres of each other with minimal driver input. I wonder if it will stick.
ASTA stands for Active Safety Test Area. The Zero? That conveys the facility’s vision: to help bring the number of automotive related fatalities down to nothing. A high ideal, but a commendable one and I wish them every success.
You can find out more about ASTAZero on their website: http://www.astazero.com/