Representatives of the BMW Group, the Czech government and the Karlovary Vary region announced construction of a new proving ground today in Prague. The roughly 500-hectare property will be developed in Sokolov in the Karlovary Vary region, close to the German border town of Waldsassen and about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Centre (FIZ), in Munich.
BMW will invest over 100 million euros ($118 million) on a test track for self-driving and electric cars in the Czech Republic, as it expands its foray into alternative driving technologies.
The new BMW proving ground, which will create several hundred jobs, is slated to go into operation early in the next decade. Total investment will be in the three-digit million-euro range.
Dr. Herbert Grebenc, BMW AG, Human Resources, Senior Vice President Real Estate Management, Corporate Security, stated at the announcement in Prague: “The BMW Group is at the vanguard of technology. As an innovation driver, we aim to offer customers the best, most emotional mobility experience and create digital connections between people, vehicles and services. At the planned proving facility in Sokolov, we will continue to advance ground-breaking topics, such as electrification, digitalization and automated driving – for example, through safety-testing for assistance systems.”
Projects at the 500-hectare (1,200-acre) Sokolov site near the German border, picked out of 82 potential locations, will include the testing of driver-assistance and braking systems, Grebenc said.