In a bid to provide more transparency about self-driving car prototypes and, the US government announced a new tracking tool on Wednesday to give the public better access to when and where the vehicles are tested. The tracking tool also aims to simply provide more information about autonomous cars since so many people aren't sure where to begin with the advanced technology.
Of course, self-driving cars aren't here yet, and we likely have a long time to go before any company is ready to deploy a truly autonomous car, let alone sell one to the public.
Those who head to the AV Test tracking tool will find information on the vehicles' driving systems and safety information. Other details include the testing location, frequency of the test, vehicle counts involved and more. It's actually great to see the information laid out in a pretty easy-to-use format. For example, the tool even tells you if the test involves a standard vehicle, like an SUV, a commercial vehicle or even an autonomous airport shuttle. Each dot on the map also tells you how the vehicles may interact with the public. The autonomous shuttle blip, for instance, informs you the service is tested with the public. Other times, it may be employee-only tests, or an autonomous delivery service with no humans onboard at all.
Right now, the tool features data from 17 cities across the US. Ten states and companies have also agreed to share information for the public tool. Moving forward, the US plans to include every link in the autonomous car chain with the tool, from city governments to automobile suppliers.