AAA acquires largest autonomous vehicle test site in the USA

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The Northern California, Nevada and Utah chapter of the American Automobile Association has bought GoMentum Station, an AV testing site in Concord, California, for an undisclosed sum.

Formerly under the management of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), which is still heavily involved in its operations, GoMentum Station has 2,100 acres (860ha) of testing area and 19.6 miles (31.5km) of paved roadway, in addition to a seven mile (11.3km) roadway for testing high-speed driving and a pair of 1,400ft (423m) tunnels for sensor testing. AVs tested there range from self-driving personal cars to shuttle vehicles.

“As a private not-for-profit organization with a broad national network, we believe we can leverage our history as a transportation advocate to build on the work of CCTA at GoMentum, and ensure this technology is developed safely,” said Michael Blasky, AAA of Northern California.

CCTA will remain the conduit for working through the procedures to enable car companies and others testing at GoMentum Station to test on public streets. It will also assist by using long-time contacts and relationships with local and state agencies to navigate the bureaucratic protocols for testing.

A new signal lab will be introduced at the test site in the next month, for testing AV infrastructure such as roadside connectivity equipment. A number of similar connected vehicle pilot projects are already up and running in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and other states.

“GoMentum’s signal lab will help cities test multiple [dedicated short-range]communication technologies, to see how they each work with a city’s existing traffic infrastructure before the city embarks on an expensive pilot with many unknown factors,” said Blasky. “This will help cities implement this technology with lower costs, more efficiency and faster speeds.”

The move is expected to boost the visibility of AVs among AAA’s 60 million members.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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