The Government of Sweden has unveiled an advanced testing facility in Gothenburg for autonomous cars.

AstaZero 5G test facility is claimed to be the first of its kind in Europe, and can replicate real-world traffic and create hypothetical scenarios where cars share the streets with drones, cyclists and pedestrians.

The project is a joint effort by the Research Institutes of Sweden and Chalmers University of Technology.

The advanced facility includes a track that can blend virtual environments with real people and test vehicles, creating a realistic test environment.

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Project engineers expect the facility will speed up development of autonomous vehicles by up to ten times.

Safety concerns are currently a sticking point in the widespread adoption of autonomous cars, partially because there is a difference between full simulation and real-world driving.

“Our mission is to try to accelerate the shift from today’s transport system to the safe and sustainable system of tomorrow.”

Before pushing autonomous cars into the real world, the initial aim is to gather and offer data required to predict how vehicles will behave.

AstraZero CEO Peter Janvik told TechRadar: “If you have a controlled and repeatable environment, when it comes to security and safety, we are a very good step between simulated systems and a physical proving ground.

“Then you can go into cities with closed-off streets and the like. By having a closed, repeatable environment with mixed reality, you can accelerate development.”

The Swedish Government intends to make the country a preferred location for trialling autonomous cars.

Janvik is open to exploring the possibility of extending the project’s reach, adding: “If there was a need in another location, whether it was another part of Sweden or international, we would definitely look into it.

“Our mission is to try to accelerate the shift from today’s transport system to the safe and sustainable system of tomorrow. If moving into other places helps us do that, then yes.”