This is another step for automated vehicle tech, including self-driving cars, to transform transportation for everyone in the next two decades.
In one of his last moves as the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx named 10 designated proving grounds to advance driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology development. The sites were chosen from more than 60 applicants including academic institutions, state Departments of Transportation, cities, and private entities.
The selection followed a call for proposals in November. Those sites that responded to the solicitation had to meet criteria including “a demonstration of capable safety planning, willingness and ability to share and disseminate information, and an ability to show that all applicable laws, regulations, and policies are adhered to at all times.” Applicants also had to provide information on their research and testing facilities.
The selected proving grounds are spread across the country with different facilities to test safety, manage different types of roads and conditions, and the ability to handle a range of vehicle types.
“The designated proving grounds will collectively form a Community of Practice around safe testing and deployment,” Foxx said. “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.”
The 10 designated proving ground facilities include: the city Pittsburgh, the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, the Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership, the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, the American Center for Mobility, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and GoMentum Station, the San Diego Association of Governments, the Iowa City Area Development Group, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners, and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.
In the executive summary of the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, published in September, the DOT stressed the importance of automated vehicle safety technologies, stating they “may prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago.”