The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will launch its new urban test track Tuesday, the first in a string of expansions planned to grow its research capabilities right in time for the autonomous vehicle revolution.
When it’s all complete, VTTI Smart Road Director of Operations Jared Bryson said he can’t think of any roadway scenarios his team won’t be able to simulate. There will be fake neighborhoods, roundabouts, bus stops, foggy highways and blind curves on country roads.
The whole track will be connected to U.S. 460, allowing scientists to begin experiments on a closed road before seamlessly driving onto public roads around Blacksburg.
The idea is to create a testbed where industry giants like Google can bring their self-driving cars to see how they perform in the variety of unpredictable environments they’ll find in the real world — all in one place.