UI Tests Driverless Cars

Johnson County has issued the first-of-its-kind proclamation welcoming companies to test automated vehicles on its roads.  Now, the Iowa City Airport Commission is willing to transform a retired 1,500-foot runway into a closed-course testing facility for automated driving research.  Along with the National Advanced Driving Simulator and the UI Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy program, the community is working to make Johnson County the ideal spot for private companies to come and test their automated vehicle innovations.

"It provides a closed course for us to demonstrate how this technology can avoid other vehicles in a more safe manner," Daniel McGehee, director of the human factors and vehicle safety research division at UI's Public Policy Center told the Press-Citizen. "We have the big National Advanced Driving Simulator, so we can do that virtually. But now we can do it on a closed course.

The Transportation & Vehicle Safety Research program has been using a semi-automated 2016 Volvo XC90 around Iowa City for scientific purposes as well as technical demonstrations. The runway-turned-closed course will be used to test the vehicle and the new tools and accessories it has without having to worry about other traffic.

The Transportation & Vehicle Safety Research program is a division of the Public Policy center that works to improve technology design through a better understanding of human behavior. The challenge is to match user needs with the optimal solutions—technological or otherwise.

The Public Policy Center’s mission is to provide policymakers and the public with information to make our lives and communities thrive in sustainable ways through academic research. This mission is fulfilled by conducting externally funded academic research, stimulating and supporting interdisciplinary research on campus, and engaging the public by sharing the expertise and resources of the PPC and the University of Iowa.

To learn more about the driverless car project and other Public Policy Center research visit: http://ppc.uiowa.edu/tvs