DOT chooses Triangle Expressway to test driverless cars

The Waymo driverless car is displayed during a Google event, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg)

The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen North Carolina as one of the testing ground for self-driving cars.

"The North Carolina Turnpike Authority, with its world-class facility, partnerships and research, is proud to serve as a designated automated vehicle proving ground," Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Holder said. "We are committed to ensuring the safety of the traveling public and the state's roadways as we test this technology."

The state's turnpike authority was selected from more than 60 applicants.

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National transportation officials say the sites chosen all have different facilities that can be used to gauge safety, manage various roadways and conditions, and handle various types of vehicles.

"The Triangle Expressway, with its access to three Tier 1 research universities and the largest research park in North America, make it the ideal location for this pilot program," said Turnpike Authority Executive Director Beau Memory. "As safety is our number one priority, we believe this opportunity will allow us to learn how to best keep our customers safe with this emerging technology."

The DOT did not say when the tests would begin.

In addition to the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, other designees include:

- City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
- Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
- U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center
- American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run
- Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station
- San Diego Association of Governments
- Iowa City Area Development Group
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners

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