The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced on Thursday that it is designating ten test sites across the country as “proving grounds” for autonomous and connected vehicle technology.
This follow a nationwide competition among national testing centers that began in November and will go down as one of its last acts under the Obama administration. The testing areas were picked from over 60 potential sites and include a range of academic, state and private institutions around the country. They are:
- City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
- Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
- U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center
- American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run
- Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station
- San Diego Association of Governments
- Iowa City Area Development Group
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners
- North Carolina Turnpike Authority
Regulators say automakers will share the facilities and data to help make widespread autonomous car use a reality. Tesla, Google, Ford and a host of other auto manufacturers are making significant strides towards producing road-legal driverless cars.
A Berg Insight's report on ‘The Future of Autonomous Cars’ forecasts the total number of new registrations of autonomous cars to reach 24 million units by 2030. They say the economic benefits are vast – but the challenge is to succeed in making self-driving cars sufficiently reliable at a reasonable cost to enable commercialization.
“The designated proving grounds will collectively form a community of practice around safe testing and deployment,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “This group will openly share best practices for the safe conduct of testing and operations as they are developed, enabling the participants and the general public to learn at a faster rate and accelerating the pace of safe deployment.”
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