Virginia, US, Opens Highways for Autonomous Car Testing
8 Juin 2015 - Autoblog
So far, the hotbed of autonomous vehicle development in the US has largely been on the West Coast. That's where Google's electric bubbles are piloting themselves around, and Audi is sending a driverless TTS around racetracks. Virginia is now hoping to change that trend as the latest state to allow self-driving cars on some of its roads.
The US government is designating about 70 miles (112 km/h) in the northern part of the state as Virginia Automated Corridors, including portions of Interstates 95, 495, and 66, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is administrating the program, but the first actual autonomous vehicles aren't expected to actually hit the streets in the commonwealth for about a year.
Virginia is hoping to attract companies to the area for testing and is trying to be appealing by making autonomous experimentation easier there than other areas. After the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute certifies a vehicle as safe for the roads, it's helping to provide the license plates and insurance to drive them. One rule is that a human capable of taking control must be in the driver's seat, though.
Nokia's Here division, which is currently for sale, is already on board with Virginia's plan, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It's going to create high-def maps of the Virginia Automated Corridors to help driverless vehicles stay in their lane.