US DOT designates ten driverless vehicle proving grounds

Close-up image of dual yellow lines on road surface against blue sky

Following the US Department of Transportation's (DOT) announcement in November that it was seeking proving grounds for the safe testing, demonstration and deployment of driverless cars, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday announced details of its ten chosen pilot sites.

The DOT said in a statement that as it works on the safe deployment of automated technology, its designations would help to “transform personal and commercial mobility, expand capacity, and open new doors to disadvantaged people and communities”.

The designated proving grounds 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

“The designated proving grounds will collectively form a Community of Practice around safe testing and deployment,” said Secretary Foxx. 

“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 DOT said that the proving grounds will also provide critical insights into the use of big data through automated vehicle testing. In addition, it expects the grounds to help build a community of practice around autonomous vehicle research.

More than 60 organisations applied for designation, including academic institutions, state Departments of Transportation, cities and private groups.

The designated proving grounds offer a range of facilities that will be used to assess autonomous driving safety, manage various roadways and conditions, and handle different types of automated vehicles.