The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) solicits test grounds for autonomous vehicle development. To ensure safety during development of such vehicles, the DoT wants to created multiple test grounds nation wide. In field trials the agency wants to better understand what challenges lawmakers and regulators are going to face, as well as manufacturers.
Several test areas shall be selected to create a nation wide network of test grounds and test regions. It is expected that race tracks and corporate test tracks, university and business campus, or even city districts will be proposed.Today multiple test areas exist and field trial is done on public roads. The GoMentum Station in Concord, the Castle Airforce Base, and the NASA Ames Moffett Airfield are all i California. The Mcity is in Michigan. They are all closed tracks without public traffic.
Field trials on public roads are taking place all over California, as well as other US states. Best known in California for field trials is Mountain View, San Francisco and adjacent cities, where Google, GM, Baidu, Stanford University and others are testing. Google also has field trials running in Austin, Texas, Kirkowwd, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona. Uber tests in Pittsburgh, nuTonomy plans to start field trials in Boston end of this year. Also soon driver-less shuttle buses are scheduled to start field trials at the Bishop Ranch business park in California. For latter field trial California governor Jerry Brown signed a law that permits driver-less vehicles on public roads.
More test grounds are planed in Blacksburg, Virginia, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as well as one in Polk County, Florida. Also Highway 83 which crosses North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas over a stretch of 2,000 miles is scheduled to become driver-less-car-ready.
Proposals for the DoT solicitation can be submitted until December 19th.