Federal government names 10 autonomous testing sites

US DOT picks sites the day before new administration is sworn in.

In one of the final moves the federal government under the Obama Administration, the US Department of Transportation chose the 10 US sites where vehicle testing for autonomous-driving capabilities will be officially conducted. Under outgoing Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the DOT on Thursday chose from among the more than 60 applicants to come up with its final list. The winners were chosen for their safety planning and information-sharing capabilities, among other attributes.

The winners include Pennsylvania's Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute; the Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership; Maryland's U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center; California's Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station, and San Diego Association of Governments; Michigan's American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run; the Iowa City Area Development Group; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners; and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

Such testing will be conducted to see how autonomous-driving technology can best improve commercial-vehicle standards and transportation accessibility for disadvantaged people. Take a look at the DOT's press release here.

The DOT last month proposed a rule requiring all automakers to include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications equipment on all cars and light-duty trucks, with a phase-in for the rule as soon as 2021. The goal of such communications is to complement emergency braking and other current features with heightened warning systems. Such technology will cost about $350 per car in 2020, the DOT estimate at the time.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump in late November tapped Elaine Chao to succeed Foxx. Chao was the Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush from 1989 through 1991, and Labor Secretary under George W. Bush for both terms.

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