Civic News

The state wants to make I-95 in Baltimore a test zone for self-driving cars

The U.S. government is seeking areas to designate as “proving grounds.” Is I-95 one?

An early Google self-driving car.

(Photo by Flickr user Travis Wise, used under Creative Commons license)

The state wants to add more cars on Interstate 95, but this time it’s in the name of innovation.
Maryland’s Department of Transportation submitted an application this week to turn a stretch of Interstate 95 that includes the Baltimore area into a “proving ground” for autonomous vehicles.
Here’s the area that’s in the zone:

via Maryland Department of Transportation

Self-driving zone. (Image via Maryland Department of Transportation)

The proposed testing area in the application includes I-95 from College Park to Aberdeen Proving Ground. Along with the roadway itself, the state says that the area has facilities such as BWI airport and the Port of Baltimore that could provide unique testing environments. Additionally, autonomous vehicle technology is already being developed and tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground and the University of Maryland, which could also position the state as a producer of hardware and software components for the cars.
“The I-95 Corridor in Maryland is the ideal one-stop-shop for real-world testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Transportation sought applications for the testing areas, and is expected to make their selections in the first quarter of 2017. The testing would begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

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