by J.D Davidson
Ohio will play a role in the ongoing development and future of driverless cars thanks to a first-of-its-kind testing facility northwest of Columbus.
Waymo announced it is working with the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio, on what it calls the most comprehensive independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in the United States.
At the same time, the autonomous driving technology company announced a new research and development facility in Menlo Park, California.
“Together, these new facilities will enable us to further advance the latest generation of our fully autonomous Waymo Driver across multiple vehicle platforms, including the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Class 8 trucks, while scaling our robust testing program and operations across a diverse set of geographies and driving environment,” A Waymo company spokesperson said.
The Ohio testing facility will model a dense urban environment. Waymo will also use other tracks, specifically made for trucks, at the TRC facility.
TRC, according to Waymo, is North America’s most advanced, independent mobility testing and research complex. It includes a 4,500-acre, full-service automotive proving ground and labs, and the SMARTCenter, TRC’s automated and connected vehicle test facility.
Waymo’s software and hardware technology can be applied to various vehicles to drive autonomously. To date, Waymo Driver has driven more than 20 million miles autonomously on public roads and more than 15 billion miles in simulation.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Waymo Vehicle” by Waymo.