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Peters, Tillis Lead Colleagues in Calling for Funding to Advance Self-Driving Vehicles

USDOT Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds Will Serve as Hubs for Developing Advanced Automotive Technologies

April 7, 2017, Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) today led a bipartisan group of their Senate colleagues in a letter calling for increased funding to support the advancement of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies. The letter specifically calls for Congress to appropriate funding for the safe development and testing of CAV technologies at U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT) federally-designated proving grounds. The letter was sent to Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI).

“The auto industry is in the midst of a seismic technological shift that will revolutionize the transportation of people and goods in our lifetime. Connected and self-driving cars can reduce dramatically the more than 35,000 lives lost on our roads and highways every year and fundamentally transform the way we get around,” wrote the Senators.

“Connected and automated vehicles are going to be developed abroad if we do not take the lead in making sure these technologies are advanced right here in the United States,” the Senators continued. “Identifying and selecting these initial proving grounds was a crucial first step, but USDOT must now be given the resources to work quickly to ensure that testing and evaluation at these facilities can begin as soon as possible.”

Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to reduce traffic accidents, save thousands of lives lost on American roads each year, and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of groundbreaking automotive innovation. Last year, at Senator Peters’ urging, USDOT opened a competition to designate national testing facilities for advanced automotive technologies. In January, USDOT named ten facilities across the country as federally-designated proving grounds for the development of automated vehicles. Prior to these designations, there was no national testing facility in the United States for CAV technologies.

The designees include:

  • American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run in Ypsilanti, MI
  • City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
  • Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
  • U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, MD
  • Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station
  • San Diego Association of Governments
  • Iowa City Area Development Group
  • Wisconsin AV Proving Grounds / University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners
  • North Carolina Turnpike Authority

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Burr (R-NC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

A copy of the letter is available here.

Source: United States Senator for Michigan Gary Peters

About the Author
Jonathan Riehl works at the Wisconsin AV Proving Grounds.