The U.S. Department of Transportation is asking cities for proposals to test automated vehicles through the new Automation Proving Ground Pilot Program.
DoT will evaluate proposals in order to find locations for safe testing, demonstration, and deployment of self-driving cars.
“We believe that by designating facilities as part of a Community of Practice, we can foster a safe environment for these entities to share best practices related to testing and developing this technology,” said Anthony Foxx, secretary of transportation.
Cities such as Columbus, Ohio, have already made progress in laying the foundation to test autonomous vehicles. Columbus won $50 million from DoT for the Smart City Challenge, which the city plans to use to create a route to test self-driving cars by 2018.
The Ohio Turnpike Commission has announced that it will allow testing of autonomous vehicles along its 241-mile toll road. The Ohio Department of Transportation will begin installing fiber optic cable on Route 33 to allow for connected vehicle testing.
The University of Michigan has a testing facility for smart transportation systems and Uber has begun testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.
DoT is looking for test tracks, test facilities, race tracks, cities, and urban cores that have plans to lay the infrastructure for testing self-driving cars safely. DoT is accepting applications through Dec. 19.
“Our hope is that by designating Automation Proving Grounds, we will be able to build on that safety effort while taking advantage of these advanced technologies in a responsible way,” Foxx said.