The race to put self-driving cars on the road is only getting more and more competitive. In the last year, companies in the field have announced initiative after initiative — Ford tripling its autonomous fleet, Audi beginning to drive its cars on race tracks, and Google beginning to test on public roads in its third city, for example.
And as they rush to pour money and resources into developing autonomous vehicles, government entities and higher education institutions have started competing with each other to be the places where those companies turn to conduct their research and testing.
It's become a widespread movement, with all levels of government looking for ways to make themselves an attractive option. Even leaders in places that aren't the center of research — like Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles — have publicly stated that they want to get into the game. To that end, he announced in May of 2015 a transportation technology advisor fellowship at Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and in August of that year appointed Ashley Hand, formerly the chief innovation officer for Kansas City, Mo., to the post.
"It's about time the car capital of the world planned for the future of transportation in the digital age — moving beyond the car to bikes, ride shares, and autonomous vehicles," Garcetti said at the time. "Working together with my Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds and CTO Peter Marx, this expert will help us answer questions about how LA can better prepare our streets, systems, and infrastructure to make our city the most livable, modern city it can be."
It's places like these — where participation in the movement is only in the beginning stages — and in states and localities already conducting experiments in both policy and technology that will pave the way for autonomous vehicles.
Check out our map above for details on each jurisdiction making moves in the autonomous vehicle space, or visit page two of our story.
Ben Miller is the business beat staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.