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Ohio Turnpike Could Be New Testing Ground for Driverless Cars

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Ohio Turnpike Driverless Cars Testing

The Ohio Turnpike could be a new testing round for autonomous vehicles
Photo: Friscocali Flickr

Before carmakers can even consider sending driverless vehicles to dealerships for sale—something that likely won’t happen for quite awhile—there needs to be plenty of testing. While closed courses and test tracks are typically great for that kind of thing, driverless cars need even more heavy duty testing, which means they need to go out on the open road.

Michigan has already been named a big real-world testing ground for this new technology, and now it looks like Ohio is going to follow close behind.

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Ohio state officials recently stated that the Ohio Turnpike might soon be approved as a self-driving test route. This part of Interstate Route 80 stretches 241 miles. It is a fairly straight road, with lanes in each direction and wider-than-normal lane markings. These characteristics will make it perfect for testing autonomous technology.

Even better? This route will also allow the vehicles to test with snowy and icy conditions. “It’s got to start happening on real roads,” said the roadway’s executive director, Randy Cole. “That’s part of getting the consumer confidence.”

Because the turnpike has fiber optics along its entire distance, vehicle-to-vehicle communications should be no issue. This will also help the testers collect data.

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Currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is setting regulations for driverless vehicles. The original report was expected this past July, but was delayed until the end of 2016. By placing the regulations before the introduction of driverless vehicles to the car market, the NHTSA hopes to make the transition to this new technology easier.

News Source: Digital Trends