USDOT Secretary Announces New Test Tracking Tool to Promote Driverless Vehicles
Washington D.C. – The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is rolling out a new web platform with the goal of providing more transparency and clarity around the testing of automated vehicles.
In a video announcement on Wednesday, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao announced the development of “public facing web pilot platform” as part of the second phase of the Department’s Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing (AV TEST) Initiative launched in June.
The AV TEST Initiative’s purpose is to promote self-driving technology to the motoring public and address concerns about safety and security.
“AV technologies are not yet advanced enough to enable the widespread deployment of fully autonomous vehicles, but someday, they may be, and the Department is addressing legitimate public concerns regarding safety and security without hampering progress and removing unnecessary and burdensome red tape,” Sec. Chao said.
The USDOT has faced criticism by some trucking stakeholders for not doing more to address the public’s distrust in AVs.
This new web platform is designed with that objective in mind.
“This platform showcases data submitted voluntarily by government and private sector participants,” Sec. Chao said. “It unlocks valuable information for state and local governments overseeing testing. It encourages developers to exercise better, safer practices. It provides clarity on AV testing for communities all across the country.”
While trucking stakeholders and a growing number of the world’s richest and most powerful investors want to see U.S. policymakers move more quickly on a range of issues involving driverless vehicles, others have criticized the Department for allowing testing on public roads without providing much oversight or insisting on transparency.
Those following the autonomous trucking industry over the last few years know driverless truck companies such as TuSimple have been testing vehicles in partnership with a number of major trucking companies.
However, many of these tests and the routes have largely been undisclosed.
Additionally, the trucking companies participating in the testing have also done so under non-disclosure agreements.
“Transparency is so important for the development of automated vehicles,” Sec. Chao stated on Wednesday. “This new web platform will make on-road testing information accessible to government, industry and the public alike.”
Sec. Chao also signaled what she expects the road ahead to look like.
“We’ve seen rapid changes in AV technology in recent years and the path ahead will be transformational.”
Click HERE to check out the new AV test tracking tool.
WATCH Sec. Chao’s full statement below.