SWARCO Road Marking Systems and Digitrans, operator of the new proving ground in St. Valentin, Austria, and initiator of the test region for automated goods transport, are now cooperation partners.
The future of individual mobility belongs to autonomous driving. Nowadays, semi-autonomous driver assistance systems are already standard equipment in modern vehicles. And this trend is here to stay. Especially in the area of infrastructure, this creates a need for extensive field studies. For this purpose, Digitrans has been expanding the existing test site in St. Valentin, Lower Austria, making it a test center for automated driving functions. SWARCO Road Marking Systems is on board as a cooperation partner. With this cooperation, its experts for innovative marking systems are hoping to make important findings for the next stages of automated driving.
Road marking systems „rails in automated driving“
“The technology required for autonomous driving is already in use in driver assistance systems today. However, until private transport can be fully automated and free of human intervention, a lot of research is needed,” explains Friedrich Wiesinger, Team Leader Product Development at SWARCO Road Marking Systems. Here, road marking systems play a significant role. They guide autonomous vehicles on the road and are therefore often described as the “rails in automated driving”. SWARCO Road Marking Systems is one of the front runners worldwide in research and development in this area. Its cooperation with the experts from Digitrans in the testing of automated driving functions is the logical next step.
Road marking on the Digitrans proving ground in St. Valentin © DigTrans GmbH 2021
Pooling International Know-How on a Test Track
The test track in St. Valentin, which was set up as early as the 1930s, is located on the grounds of the Magna Powertrain Engineering Centers Steyr. In the summer of 2021, Digitrans held the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the test site into a state-of-the-art test center for automated driving and automated goods transport. As of summer 2022, the completed proving ground will offer numerous additional elements for the testing of automated driving functions in real-world conditions in a reproducible fashion.
Cooperation as a basis for the further development of automated driving in Austria
As an exclusive partner for innovative marking systems, SWARCO Road Marking Systems plays an important role in the prominently staffed partner consortium. “Our goal is to further optimize how sensors, and road and marking detection interact and work together. This is the basis for developing our products further and establishing new standards, especially for the harmonization of road markings in Europe,” Friedrich Wiesinger explains. The newly adapted Digitrans proving ground allows for the simulation of a wide variety of driving scenarios and weather conditions thanks to the outdoor sprinkler system, among others. As a result, all conceivable conditions which may have a bearing on the detection and readability of marking systems can be tested with varying levels of rain intensity, too. “For autonomous driving systems to operate efficiently in the real world, they have to function in all weather conditions and always work safely and reliably,” says expert Eva Tatschl-Unterberger, CEO of Digitrans GmbH. “Thanks to the cooperation between Digitrans and SWARCO Road Marking Systems, we will be able to make significant progress on further enhancing the safety of automated driving functions,” she continues.
Representatives of SWARCO Road Marking Systems and Digitrans signed the cooperation agreement together. From the left: Peter Tomazic (Vice President Region Europe Production/R&D), Bernhard Helmreich (Team Leader Laboratory R&D), Eva Tatschl-Unterberger (CEO, Digitrans GmbH), Michaela Reitner (Marketing Manager) and Friedrich Wiesinger (Team Leader Product Development) © SWARCO Road Marking Systems 2021
Construction progress of the proving ground for automated driving in St. Valentin © DigiTrans GmbH
“Our goal is to further optimize how sensors, and road and marking detection interact and work together. This is the basis for developing our products further and establishing new standards, especially for the harmonization of road markings in Europe”
Friedrich Wiesinger/ Team Leader Product Development SWARCO Road Marking Systems
High-Performance Marking Systems in Realistic Simulations
On the Digitrans proving ground in St. Valentin, SWARCO Road Marking Systems has been testing various marking systems. “Here, the focus is on permanent plain, structured and area markings. But thanks to the perfect simulation conditions, automated driving systems are also being tested together with temporary marking systems, such as construction site markings,” Friedrich Wiesinger says. In the area of structured markings, SWARCO Road Marking Systems relies on SWARCO SOLIDPLUS 100 premium glass beads in combination with cold plastics. As for plain markings, SWARCO Road Marking Systems has been focusing on testing high-grade SWARCOFLEX standard glass beads together with cold spray plastics. The tests are conducted in cooperation with Digitrans’ partners from the automotive industry, but also with tertiary institutions and companies in the field of research and development.
About SWARCO Road Marking Systems
What began in 1969 with small reflective glass beads has grown to become the world’s largest system provider for road markings. SWARCO systems and solutions save lives every day: SWARCO Road Marking Systems quality products and services guide traffic safely from A to B by day and especially by night. On all roads. In any weather. From a single source. More than 5,000 customers in more than 80 countries rely on it.
© DigTrans GmbH 2021
SWARCO Road Marking Systems bundles its know-how and innovative strength in the Competence Center for Glass Technology and Marking Systems to continue to lead the way in road marking for the global market in the age of Smart Driving and Autonomous Driving.