Other parts of this series:
While most car and technology companies have centered their trials in Silicon Valley, more cities throughout the world are beginning to hold self-driving vehicle pilot programs. From Shanghai to Sion, Switzerland; Austin, Texas, to Helsinki, Finland; and San Francisco to Tokyo; local governments, universities and entrepreneurs are coming together to explore how autonomous vehicles will shape the future of transportation globally.
2016 was a banner year for self-driving vehicle projects. We have compiled a comprehensive list of testing and deployment locations of driverless cars, trucks, buses and more. This world map logs the trial sites and the companies and organizations involved. Click the image below for the full version or view the PDF.
The United States spearheads the movement
Technology giant Google has enjoyed much publicity with its self-driving car project, which started in 2009 in Mountain View, Calif. The company has since added three other locations (Austin, Texas; Kirkland, Wash.; and Phoenix) and a prototype vehicle to its fleet of Toyota Prius and Lexus 450h, claiming two million miles under its belt to date. In December 2016, Google renamed the project to Waymo, a move received by many as a sign of a leap from research to business enterprise.
The two ride service companies, Uber and Lyft are testing autonomous taxis across the country. Uber is carrying passengers in Pittsburgh with backup drivers and Lyft has partnered with General Motors to test driverless taxis in Phoenix and San Francisco. But Uber made the biggest headlines in late 2016, when its driverless truck Otto delivered beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, both in Colorado.
The University of Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, tests a myriad of self-driving vehicles at Mcity, a 32-acre closed course, which simulates urban and suburban environments with buildings, intersections, and traffics signs and signals.
In Boston, Cambridge-based NuTonomy has partnered with the city government and MIT and started testing self-driving personal vehicles late in 2016.
Canada was a late arrival to the autonomous-vehicle testing party in North America. The University of Waterloo joined forces with Erwin Hymer Group and Blackberry QNX to start testing driverless cars and vans in November 2016.
Europe focuses on public transportation
The European Union has some strict regulations on conducting experiments with driverless vehicles on public roads. However, this hasn’t stopped several cities from launching public transportation initiatives. There are three major ongoing autonomous bus trials across Europe: In Helsinki, Finland, by Sohjoa; in Sion, Switzerland, by Postbus; and in Wageningen, Netherlands, by WePods.
In Baerum, Norway, grocery company Kolonial.no is testing self-driving vehicles for food delivery. And in true EU collaborative fashion an umbrella group made up of DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania, and Volvo has successfully tested a convoy of delivery trucks “platooning” on multiple highways across the continent to Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Asia takes a unique approach
While not nearly as varied as University of Michigan’s Mcity, Shanghai created a 100-square-kilometer closed course for testing of autonomous vehicles, called the National Intelligent Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone. The city has ambitious goals, which include becoming a hub of 10,000 driverless vehicles by 2020.
In Singapore, NuTonomy has launched a self-driving taxi service, while Delphi has an on-demand ride service on a dedicated test route. Not to be left out of the latest innovations in technology, Toyota has been doing trials on autonomous vehicles in Tokyo.
These are just the highlights of recent developments in self-driving vehicles across the globe. There are many more projects planned for 2017.
Join us next time, as we start delving deeper into autonomous vehicles in each region of the world, starting with North America.
In the meanwhile, learn how autonomous vehicle technology could impact the insurance industry.
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