Ohio Turnpike may see self-driving testing


COLUMBUS — Ohio’s toll road, a heavily traveled connector between the East Coast and Chicago, is moving closer to allowing the testing of self-driving vehicles.

Testing is likely to begin within 12 months, and possibly before the end of the year, the Ohio Turnpike’s executive director told The Associated Press.

Officials overseeing the roadway have spent more than a year looking at the possibilities, said Randy Cole, the turnpike’s director.

Ohio is among several states competing to play a role in the testing and research of autonomous vehicles, which is advancing at light speed.

Ride-hailing service Uber said Thursday that it will start hauling passengers in self-driving cars with human backup drivers on the streets of Pittsburgh within the next several weeks.

Much of the testing, up to now, has been in California along with a handful of Western U.S. states and on closed courses, such as one operated by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

More testing is needed in new places and where there’s snow and ice, Cole said.

“It’s got to start happening on real roads,” he said in an interview this week. “That’s part of getting the consumer confidence.”

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