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For the mobility of the future

Germany fosters innovative approaches in mobility, with digitization playing an important role.
© Tim Siegert-batcam/

As a major centre of the automobile industry, Germany is able to make a crucial contribution to shaping the global mobility of the future. After all, a mobility transition is inevitable, both in Germany and worldwide: We are fast seeing the limits to private vehicle usage, and the proportion of environmentally harmful emissions attributable to transportation remains high. On the other hand, the transportation and logistics sector is seeing ever more new possibilities for digitization.

Autonomous and networked driving, for example, could bring major improvements to safety and the environmental balance. An action plan agreed upon in 2019 by the Federal Ministries of Education and Research, of Economic Affairs and Energy, and of Transport and Digital Infrastructure aims to foster new developments in this area. The action plan forms part of the Federal Government’s High-Tech Strategy 2025.

Testing innovations in practice – with European partners

In order to push ahead with automated driving and other innovative technologies in a very practical way, Germany has set up a test route. Since 2015, the A9 in Bavaria, one of Germany’s busiest autobahns, has also been the setting for the autobahn “Digital Test Track” (DTA).  There, research institutes and innovative companies are able to test out their approaches in real-life traffic situations and thus gather data for further developments.

Germany has also teamed up with neighbouring countries France and Luxembourg to create another such test area. The Germany-France “Digital Test Track” runs from Merzig via Saarlouis and Saarbrücken in Germany to Metz in France, as well as via the region of Bettemburg in Luxembourg.  Among other things, the idea is to test out automated driving functions in cross-border traffic.

Alternative drives

Aside from new digital developments in mobility, Germany is also promoting innovative drive systems, including not only electromobility but also hydrogen technology. The range of these kinds of vehicles remains limited even in Germany, hence the Federal government is supporting research in this area as well as the expansion of the relevant infrastructure. By 2023 there are set to be 400 publicly accessible hydrogen pumps throughout Germany.

Germany is making use of hydrogen as green energy in other areas, too, such as for heat generation or in industrial processes. With its “National Hydrogen Strategy”, the Federal government aspires to make Germany a pioneer in this field. To do so, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will invest more than 300 million euros from the Climate Fund in this field by 2023 alone. What’s more, Germany is building strategic hydrogen partnerships in Europe and worldwide. There are plans to team up with African partners, for example, to explore the role green hydrogen can play in the sustainable development of the African continent.