Cities and regions are partnering with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to form the Texas Automated Vehicle (AV) Proving Ground Partnership.

“The closed-course facilities and real-world urban and rural test sites we can offer, including land- and sea-port applications and unmanned aircraft systems, provide a variety of environments where automated vehicle challenges can be tested and proven,” said TTI agency director, Greg Winfree.

The partnership builds upon the momentum of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City Challenge, in which Austin was a finalist and is a direct outcome of the Texas Mobility Summit held last month.

The summit, hosted by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Texas Technology Task Force, brought together nine teams representing ten cities and three research institutions to develop solutions to the State’s mobility challenges.

“One of the challenges as we look forward into the future is we are often looking through the lens of today and how the world operates today,” said TxDOT executive director, James Bass.

“We know there is going to be change, we just don’t know what that change is going to be and how that is going to impact us. By having a broader group with different voices, we are able to see those things sooner than we would if we were just talking to ourselves.”

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For his part, Arlington Mayor, Jeff Williams added: “In the next five years there are going to be more advancements in vehicle technology than there have been in the last 50 years.

“Think about the opportunity to have an automated people mover, lithium battery powered. It could run all day, charge through the night, use clean-energy, and be cheaper…It’s a new day of what the opportunities are because transformation is coming now.”

Members of the Texas Partnership are contributing their facilities, expertise and talents as part of a larger Texas network of proving grounds and test-bed sites.