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Source: Twitter

Google Transforms Army Training Base Into Self-Driving Test Course

By Brian Spaen

The University of Michigan isn’t the only place that’s developing and studying electric vehicles in a fake city. Waymo, a self-driving technology company under Google, has created the city of Castle in California. They’ve implemented an infrastructure that will fully test self-driving vehicles in hopes to share this innovation with people on a large scale.

Why "Castle," you might be wondering? Interestingly, Castle was created from an old army training facility from World War II, formerly known as the Castle Air Force Base. The course will be equipped with objects that will make it seem like strolling around a typical town. So for example, there will be traffic cones, standing dummies, plastic plants, and objects like bicycles all over the place. Waymo’s goal is to rigorously test the automation without needing to disrupt the flow of real traffic.

It’s an upgrade from where the process of testing self-driving vehicles used to take place, which was in parking lots. Steph Villegas, one of the team members behind Google’s autonomy program since 2011, set up props in controlled environments. In a feature with The Atlantic, Villegas explained the difficulties of using the Shoreline Amphitheater and wanted to recreate a city.