Planning Begins for One of Ten Autonomous Vehicle Testing Sites in the Nation
San Diego County CA— Qualcomm, UC San Diego, Cyber Center of Excellence, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and Marine Corps Installations Command joined more than 40 companies and institutions on Thursday for the first meeting of the San Diego Regional Proving Ground Consortium hosted by SANDAG, Caltrans, and the City of Chula Vista.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) selected the San Diego region as one of ten designated proving grounds in the nation to encourage testing and sharing information around autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies. SANDAG, Caltrans District 11, and the City of Chula Vista applied jointly for this designation.
“The purpose of this Consortium is to bring together industry affiliates and academic partners for research and development,” said SANDAG Chair and County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “As we engage and educate the public on this important public policy, I’m excited to see what this meeting of the minds will bring to San Diego as a region.”
At Caltrans District headquarters on Thursday, Consortium attendees from academia, the military, government agencies, technology and cyber companies, and vehicle manufacturers traded ideas on ways to integrate smart technology systems into vehicles and infrastructure to facilitate and connect autonomous vehicles into transportation grids.
The San Diego Proving Ground will be operated by SANDAG and will provide Consortium members a place to collaboratively test technology in real-time situations on city streets and regional highways. Vehicles are not yet being tested on the San Diego Regional Proving Ground.
The vision for the San Diego Regional Proving Ground (RPG) is to provide real-world facilities for validating innovative technologies that advance mobility, safety, sustainability, and economic prosperity for the San Diego region. The San Diego RPG will allow companies to test autonomous and connected vehicles and their supporting technology. These innovative modes, methods, and models will transform the movement of people and goods throughout the state and the nation.
“We are proud to partner with SANDAG and the City of Chula Vista for the advancement of transportation” said Cory Binns, Caltrans District 11 Acting Director. “The San Diego region is a hot bed of technology, and we are excited to explore the limitless opportunities for safety and mobility, and to provide an innovative platform in a real-world environment for technology in the future.”
The San Diego Regional Proving Ground is the only proving ground that provides three roadways for testing road-ready technologies in a variety of real-world environments:
- Interstate 15 Express Lanes: A 20-mile segment of the I-15 Express Lanes with grade changes between State Route 163 in San Diego and State Route 78 in Escondido. The Express Lanes use the Integrated Corridor Management system and feature a movable barrier to manage traffic flow, all available to companies that use the proving ground. An 11,000 square-foot facility with offices, storage, maintenance bays, and secure parking is adjacent to the Express Lanes.
- South Bay Expressway (SBX): A 10-mile toll road in eastern Chula Vista provides connections to the U.S./Mexico border crossing. SBX is a multi-lane, bi-directional toll road with grade changes. Traffic management technology such as closed-circuit TV, speed detectors, toll plazas, dynamic messaging signs, and traffic signals are available to companies. A staging facility with office space, storage, maintenance, and secure parking is adjacent to SBX.
- The City of Chula Vista’s streets and arterials: This is an opportunity to test within an entire city, including planned communities, traditional grid patterned streets, and areas of new development. Surface streets offer a variety of speeds, driving patterns, and intersections. The city’s maintenance garage could provide a staging facility with secure parking, office space, and a maintenance facility.
“The knowledge and partnerships we gain from being a designated proving ground will help us advance innovation, enhance mobility, and improve our transportation systems,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.
To learn more about the San Diego Regional Proving Ground or for information on becoming an affiliate of the consortium, please visit the SANDAG web page.