The DOT May Be Setting Up an Autonomous Car Test Track Near You

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that it is designating ten areas across the country as special “proving grounds” where autonomous cars can be tested and improved.

The ten sites are meant to encourage testing and foster a culture of sharing information to help make widespread autonomous car use a reality — and to ensure that these self-driving vehicles are being developed and rolled out with safety in mind.

“The designated proving grounds will collectively form a Community of Practice around safe testing and deployment,” explained Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “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.”

More than 60 academic institutions, city and stage agencies, and private institutions applied to be one of the proving grounds. The winners all have a variety of facilities that can “gauge safety, manage various roadways and conditions, and handle various types of vehicles,” according to the DOT.

The DOT has, fittingly, been increasingly focused on the development and regulation of autonomous vehicles as the technology behind them becomes more viable and widespread. Early this month, the department announced a new federal committee that would help oversee how autonomous cars are deployed that includes executives from Google, Uber, and other major tech and automotive companies.


Here are the ten designated autonomous vehicle testing locations that the DOT just announced:

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

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