A vehicle from self-driving truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 in central Ohio between Dublin and East Liberty. It will travel in regular traffic, and a driver in the truck will be positioned to intervene if anything goes wrong.
Officials of Department of transport, Ohio say that section of Route 33 — a four-lane, divided road — will serve as an automotive research corridor where new technologies can be safely tested in real-life traffic. It will be aided by a fiber-optic cable network and sensor systems by the next year.
Tests of self-driving vehicles have been made in other areas, such as in Colorado where the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a trip of more than 120 miles was done. The company said a professional truck driver was on board for the entire route. Several automobile companies have tested self-driving vehicles on public roads in California and Nevada, and Uber is testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh.
Ohio is well-positioned for such automotive as it has a significant presence from the automotive industry in the state, partnerships with university researchers, and the seasonal weather changes that enable testing a variety of driving conditions in one place.