Driverless cars could make a Madison debut

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Local researchers and transportation experts met Tuesday at High Noon Saloon in Madison to discuss a prospect that excites some and frightens others: driver-less vehicles.

Madison has been selected by the Department of Transportation as one of ten test sites for driverless vehicle research. The timeline on those tests has not yet been determined, as the city must coordinate testing locations, budgeting and regulations before tests begin.

Experts answered questions from the audience about safety considerations, sustainability and "what-if" scenarios if fully autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles hit local highways. UW-Madison transportation expert Teresa Adams says Google Cars are the only fully autonomous vehicles currently on the roads in America.

Adams explained that much of the driverless car evolution is happening gradually as regular cars adopt hands-off features like adaptive cruise control, automatic lane-changing and adaptive windshield wipers.

The full list of Proving Ground designees includes these sites:
City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center
American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run
Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station
San Diego Association of Governments
Iowa City Area Development Group
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners
North Carolina Turnpike Authority

Tuesday's event was part of the Cap Times Talks discussion series.

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