Monday, August 22, 2016

Ohio Turnpike to host real-world testing of autonomous vehicles soon.

The AP (8/19, Seewer) reports that the Ohio Turnpike will soon be a real-world test site for autonomous vehicles, with testing “likely to begin within 12 months, and possibly before the end of the year.” The turnpike’s director Randy Cole says officials have been reviewing the possibility of testing autonomous vehicles on the toll road for over a year now. With the announcement of the tests, Ohio joins the “states competing to play a role in the testing and research of autonomous vehicles,” the story reports, citing Uber’s plans to start deploying autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh sometime in the next month or two. According to Cole, the Ohio Turnpike is ideal for autonomous-vehicle testing because of its lack of major curves and hills, its clear lane markings and space for road crews, its lack of congestion, and finally its fiber optic network that runs along the entire toll road.
        The Toledo (OH) Blade (8/20, Patch, 197K) reports that “Cole declined to discuss who in the automotive industry or elsewhere in the private sector will participate, saying that element is still being worked out.” Cole also said testing will focus “on the 160 miles between Toledo and Youngstown that have three lanes each way instead of two.”
        Digital Trends (8/19, 418K) reports that the fiber optic cable running the full distance of the toll road “could assist vehicle-to-vehicle communications and help with data collection.” Digital Trends points out that NHTSA is currently crafting its own “regulations for self-driving cars,” national guidelines expected to be released “before year’s end.”
        The San Jose (CA) Mercury News (8/19, 922K) reports that autonomous-vehicle testing, which has largely taken place in California up until now, has “got to start happening on real roads,” Cole said, in order to drive “consumer confidence” in the new technologies.

        Uber plans pilot program to test autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh. Information Week (8/20, Sheridan, 1.31M) reports with continuing coverage of Uber’s plans to begin offering rides in autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh “in as little as two weeks” as part of “a pilot program to test autonomous vehicles on public streets.” While Uber employees will sit behind the wheel just in case, the “specially-equipped Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles and Ford Focus cars” will otherwise conduct themselves autonomously around the city. 

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