Nerval’s Lobster writes: In a bid to help Google (and presumably other companies) test out their next-generation automobiles, the state of Virginia has reportedly opened up 70 miles of highway, overseen by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), to self-driving cars. Portions of Virginia’s highways—most notably Interstates 95 and 495—are notoriously congested, which could present any self-driving vehicles with a real challenge. The state government has stipulated that any automated car will need a human driver at the wheel to take over in case of malfunction or emergency. California, Nevada, and a handful of other states already have roadways reserved for autonomous-car use. As one Virginia state official acknowledged to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, opening public infrastructure to new technology is seen as a way to attract top tech talent and companies. (Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. are already widely viewed as a tech hub, powered to a large degree by federal money.)
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