Why bother to eradicate autonomous grounds now?

Trump is all set to change the ten sites picked by the Obama administration to be nation’s breeding ground of self-driving car testing. The sites that were officially designated as federally-recognized "automated vehicle proving grounds," will soon have to compete with the rest of the country to win the spot. This was said by two people working on the matter, but preferred to remain anonymous.

New Autonomous Testing Rules To Be Put Into Practice

Trump to Reshuffle Autonomous Test Sites, Preps New Self-Driving Initiative
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Under Trump’s governance, the U.S. Transportation Department plans to reject ten locations autonomous test sites from California to Florida.

At the same time, the transportation department is preparing a new autonomous car testing initiative that it imagines will eventually lead to testing and demonstration pilots nationwide by companies, cities, states and others. The changes are expected to be announced soon, when Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, and other officials announce the third iteration of the department’s automated vehicle policy.

Other Policies To Be Announced Along With This

Trump to Reshuffle Autonomous Test Sites, Preps New Self-Driving Initiative
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Although the plan is still a work-in-progress, it’s intended to complement the transportation department’s drone demonstration program announced in May last year.

That program prompted ten projects, which brought together companies with local, state and tribal governments for new drone uses. According to the sources, the department will first seek for feedbacks on the issues posed by autonomous vehicles that should be addressed in the pilot projects. Project proposals will be solicited once those subjects are determined.

These initiatives are part of the transportation department’s third automated vehicle policy guidance. The policy has solely focused on highly-automated passenger cars and was last updated in September last year. However, this will be the first time that the guidance will go beyond automated cars to include the federal agencies that oversee gas pipelines, long-haul trucks, highways and public transit systems.

Final Thoughts

Trump to Reshuffle Autonomous Test Sites, Preps New Self-Driving Initiative
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Are all these things done just to make a point and prove that the last governance did not do things well?

Or will the new sites actually be an improvement over to-be scrapped sites? We’ll have to wait and watch till the official announcement is made. Do you think this was a right step to make? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Further Reading

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Source: Bloomberg

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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