NHTSA Launches Automated Vehicles Testing Initiative

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching the Automated Vehicles Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing (AV TEST) Initiative with states, local governments, and private-sector stakeholders in the automated driving system community.

Those testing automated vehicles can now voluntarily submit information to NHTSA as part of the AV TEST Initiative, and NHTSA will make it available for all to view. NHTSA will offer information on what testing has been done in which communities and what types of activities are happening, including testing of various types of motor vehicles — cars, low-speed shuttles, trucks, and driverless electric delivery vehicles.

“The continuing evolution of automotive technology aims to deliver even greater safety benefits and automated driving systems that — one day — can handle the whole task of driving when we don’t want to or can’t do it ourselves,” says NHTSA. “The AV TEST Initiative is another way that NHTSA is convening and facilitating initiatives with stakeholders to support the safe development, testing, and integration of automated vehicle technologies in the United States.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced nine companies and eight states have signed on as the first participants in the new department initiative. The participating companies are Beep, Cruise, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Local Motors, Navya, Nuro, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo.  The states are California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.

“Through this initiative, the department is creating a formal platform for federal, state, and local government to coordinate and share information in a standard way,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. 

The AV TEST Initiative will include a series of public events across the country to improve transparency and safety in the development and testing of automated driving systems.
Participants can share information about their activities, which will help increase the public’s awareness of testing, centralize the department’s role in promoting safety and innovation, and build stronger relationships among federal, state, and local governments and stakeholders.  

Additionally, this voluntary initiative will provide an online, public-facing platform for sharing automated driving systems testing activities and other safety-related information with the public. Online mapping tools may show testing locations at the local, state, and national levels, as well as testing activity data, which may include dates, frequency, vehicle counts and routes.

“Automated driving system technologies hold the promise to help prevent fatal crashes, save lives, and reduce the severity of the crashes that do occur. Under the leadership of Secretary Chao, NHTSA is committed to facilitating the safe testing, development, and eventual deployment of advanced vehicle safety technologies through enhanced transparency and information sharing with all our State and local partners,” says NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens.

The AV TEST Initiative will be open to all stakeholders involved in the safe development and testing of automated driving system vehicles. At the state and local level, participants may include departments of motor vehicles, departments of transportation, highway safety offices, and city governments.  At the automotive industry level, participants may include developers, manufacturers, suppliers, operators and testers.  

For more about the AV Test Initiative, visit

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