Mass Goes Ahead With Self Driving Cars Trial


Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation has approved a regional agreement for autonomous vehicle testing.

The regional agreement brings together mayors from several cities in and around the state. Under the agreement, mayors will work to create a single application for autonomous vehicle companies to use to apply for pilot projects. Cities will also identify approved roadways and areas for testing.

Using a revised testing application, companies will be able to simultaneously work with multiple communities to test new vehicle technologies in a range of environments, neighborhoods, and road types. The application will need to demonstrate that the vehicle to be tested has passed a Registry of Motor Vehicles inspection, can be operated without undue risk to public safety, and at all times will have a human being inside the vehicle while it is traveling.

Cities involved in the regional agreement include Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Revere, Somerville, Weymouth, Winthrop, and Worcester. In addition, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is joining the group in order to make Commonwealth-owned parkways available for the testing of Autonomous Vehicles.

One company already has testing underway.  nuTonomy’s testing began on streets within the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park before the geographic testing area expanded to additional public streets in the Seaport District. This was followed by a pilot program where passengers were transported in nuTonomy vehicles between destinations in the area. The company has now been approved to test vehicles citywide.

As part of the upcoming expansion process, nuTonomy will continue to supply quarterly reports to the City and to update the Boston Transportation Department each time it begins operating in a new neighborhood of Boston.

Another company – Optimus Ride – has also signed up to do testing in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park.

“This agreement will allow companies to responsibly develop and test autonomous vehicle technology in Massachusetts, while ensuring there are uniform safety guidelines in place,” said Governor Baker.