Image Courtesy of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

Institutions in Austin and San Antonio are collaborating on a ground breaking new pilot program in Texas to test driverless vehicles.

The alliance of organizations helped land a U.S. Department of Transportation designation for Texas as a national proving ground for testing connected and automated vehicle technologies.

The Texas Automated Vehicle Proving Ground includes Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas A&M Transportation Institute in College Station, The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research in Austin and 32 municipal and regional partners.

“We fully expect to see more automated driving capabilities on Texas roads in the next few years,” Steve Dellenback, vice president of SwRI’s Intelligent Systems Division, said in a news release.

Ten groups out of 60 were selected to participate in the national program to develop guidelines for developing autonomous vehicles.

“With five of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities in Texas and our population expected to potentially double by the year 2050, Texas must be a leader in new technology that addresses transportation challenges,” Texas Department of Transportation Deputy Executive Director Marc Williams said in a news release. “This partnership puts Texas at the forefront of automated vehicle technologies that likely will shape the future of transportation around the world.”

The Texas group will offer a variety of testing environments from high-speed barrier-separated managed lanes to low-speed urban environments such as university campuses, medical districts and transit bus corridors.

The autonomous vehicles will be tested in the following areas:

Austin Area – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Riverside Drive corridor

Houston Area – Texas Medical Center, Houston METRO HOV lanes, and Port of Houston

Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Area – UTA campus, Arlington streets, I-30 corridor and managed lanes

San Antonio Area – Fredericksburg Road/Medical Drive corridor and VIA Metropolitan Transit system

El Paso Area – Tornillo/Guadalupe Port of Entry