The Trump administration plans to drop support for ten locations in the United States currently used as the nation's "proving grounds" for semi-autonomous vehicle testing, two officials familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Established on the last day that former President Barack Obama was in office, the U.S. Transportation Department designated the locations, ranging from California to Florida, as federally-recognized "automated vehicle proving grounds". These pilot sites were hand-picked to test automated vehicle technologies and share information to help foster change in the nation's mobility platforms. Ideally, each site would be able to use its experiences to promote the safe growth of a new industry through innovation.
The current locations established by the U.S. Department of Transportation are as follows:
- 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
Reportedly, the department is also preparing to release a new nationwide initiative which, by removing the exclusivity to these sites, would promote the growth of semi-autonomous vehicle testing platforms at an accelerated rate, opening up pilots to both corporations and state-level government. The initiative is also expected to roll out guidelines on semi-autonomous long-haul trucking, public transit, and highway infrastructure.
Those familiar with the matter also state that the Transportation Department plans to first solicit feedback on current issues, such as the taxonomy and standards, with semi-autonomous testing before proceeding with the terms of its pilot program. Once the data is collected, presumably from the public and interested stakeholders, the Department will solicit project proposals for consideration.
The news is expected to be released publicly later today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and other officials.