The US road authorities seem to have finally heard the appeals of self-driving car manufacturers to provide them more space and facilities for testing their innovative driverless products. Today 10 new testing tracks for such vehicles are expected to be opened across the US.
The need for autonomous vehicles seems to be pretty clear, so now different manufacturers will have a chance to test their products in such centers in order to bring further improvements to the construction and cooperate with their partners in technological issues.
Various self-driving car developers have already made numerous statements on how such testing tracks and facilities can be useful for the future of autonomous driving. Even though some manufacturers are brave enough to hold public tests on city roads taking passengers for a ride, it is still not enough for decent testing. The developers simply need more time and mileage for precise tests when various weather conditions and traffic scenarios can be simulated. Moreover, a certain kind of the road situation can be performed again and again on such tracks, so it will make it possible for engineers and the technology itself to get improved and learn from previous mistakes.
The Department of Transportation also believes that self-driving car manufacturers could even cooperate in some crucial moments and share data with each other. This approach will let the whole industry develop faster and finally introduce the first completely autonomous vehicle very soon. The department even has some plans to make such testing sites open for those developers who will be open for data-sharing perspectives. The closed testing tracks will become some sort of an incentive for companies and boost competition.
Right now it is clear about two testing sites. Thus, one of them will be in California, in San Francisco outskirts, while Michigan was chosen as the second location. The Californian site seems to be extremely favorable because of its closeness to technological Silicon Valley, while the second location near Detroit will give an opportunity to test self-driving cars in northern weather conditions.
However, the sites are still to be equipped with everything the developers may need for their tests. The DOT plans to provide an appropriate infrastructure as well as other resources that will help to make an autonomous vehicle come true.