The U.S. DOT this week announced nine companies and eight states that have signed on as the first participants in a new department initiative to improve the safety and testing transparency of automated driving systems—the Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing (AV TEST) Initiative.
The participating companies are Beep, Cruise, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Local Motors, Navya, Nuro, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo. The states are California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.
The AV TEST Initiative—launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—will include a series of public events across the country to improve transparency and safety in the development and testing of automated driving systems. Participants can share information about their activities—which will help increase the public’s awareness of testing—centralize the Department’s role in promoting safety and innovation, and build stronger relationships among federal, state, and local governments and stakeholders.
Additionally, NHTSA says this voluntary initiative will provide an online, public-facing platform for sharing automated driving systems testing activities and other safety-related information with the public. Online mapping tools may show testing locations at the local, state, and national levels, as well as testing activity data, which may include dates, frequency, vehicle counts, and routes.
“Automated driving system technologies hold the promise to help prevent fatal crashes, save lives, and reduce the severity of the crashes that do occur," NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in a statement. "Under the leadership of Secretary Chao, NHTSA is committed to facilitating the safe testing, development, and eventual deployment of advanced vehicle safety technologies through enhanced transparency and information sharing with all our state and local partners.”
NHTSA says the AV TEST Initiative will be open to all stakeholders involved in the safe development and testing of automated driving system vehicles. At the state and local level, participants may include DMVs, DOTs, highway safety offices, and city governments. At the automotive industry level, participants may include developers, manufacturers, suppliers, operators, and testers.