At the end of February, Germany and France agreed to build a cross-border corridor between the 2 neighbouring regions of Lorraine and Saarland to test connected and automated driving. Germany’s Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt and his French counterpart Alain Vidalies said the lanes would open before the end of March, but provided no other details regarding the duration or automakers involved. The distance between the Merzig and Metz, the two cities involved, by road is 70 kilometers.

“Automated and networked driving systems must not be restricted to states — they must function everywhere,” said Dobrindt. “With the German-French digital test track, we are therefore testing automated driving in cross-border real traffic for the first time.”

Dobrindt said the track will allow carmakers to assess how vehicle-to-vehicle communication works, and let them try out the transition between national telecom networks as cars cross the border.

Germany has already tested such a system on the A9 autobahn in Bavaria and the federal government has promised to spend €100 million on test tracks. The European Commission’s own masterplan sets country’s and carmakers a deadline of 2019 to get tech up to speed for initial applications.

This is a first step that could be expanded and followed by other Member States and regions.