With the speedy progress in developing autonomous vehicles, manufacturers also need proving grounds, where the cars can be tested. There is already a growing list of test tracks in a variety of states, but neither the number nor the characteristics were sufficient for thorough testing. That’s why the DoT decided to make a call for proving grounds.
DoT secretary, Anthony Foxx, identified the first ten proving grounds, which shall ease the exchange of best practices and share information. This will help accelerate the development of driverless cars. More than 60 applications came in, and those ten were selected:
- City of Pittsburgh & 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
The proving grounds include private and public operators, cities, communities, and cities with college campus. The test tracks shall also help develop national standards and regulations for driverless cars.
Although Waymo-CEO John Krafcik recently mentioned at the Detroit Auto Show that most of the progress in the development of self-driving cars is nowadays accomplished through the 1 billion miles driven in the simulator, test in real life are still important. Not least to win the trust of the people and regulators and make them more familiar with those new technologies.