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TRC Breaks Ground on Ohio’s SMARTCenter, the World’s Largest Self-Driving Test Track

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Back in May, Ohio governor John Kasich signed a bill initiating autonomous vehicle (AV) testing on all Ohio public roads. To elaborate on this news, the world’s biggest self-driving test track broke ground in Ohio just this Monday, and is set to open by the end of this year.

Kasich lauded the development as a natural next step towards his statewide goal of advancing innovative technology, while increasing the state’s visibility. “I said seven years ago that Ohio needs to be cool. This is one aspect of the things we are doing to get Ohio on the map.”

The $45 million, 540-acre SMARTCenter broke ground earlier this week, on Monday. The center will be inside the larger 4,500-acre Transportation Research Center (TRC) campus in East Liberty. JobsOhio, The Ohio State University, and the State of Ohio are the trio of financial sponsors for the project.

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According to Governing magazine contributor JD Malone, the SMARTCenter’s structure will incorporate roadways and buildings meant to simulate urban areas, rural roads, neighborhoods, and high-speed intersections. The spacious, realistic environment will enable researchers and developers to test the AVs in a wide spectrum of real-life scenarios, to enhance the vehicles’ safety technology and functions.

Per TRC, the construction will involve moving more than 700,000 cubic yards of earth and incorporating 1.1 million square feet of pavement (the equivalent of 18.5 lane miles). It will also mean installing more than 20,000 linear feet of underground conduits to supply the area with power and fiber optics that the AVs can tap into during the test drives.

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting project that should help bring AV technology one step closer to achieving the safety standards needed for a widespread public adoption of self-driving vehicles.

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News Sources: TRC Inc.Governing