Skip navigation

Roads and Highways

Regional Proving Ground: Learn More

Autonomous vehicle (AV) testing is not new to the San Diego region. In 1997, SANDAG partnered with UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, and the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) to demonstrate technical feasibility of autonomous technologies (view video). Today, the San Diego region remains an ideal proving ground location; it provides direct access to global leaders in the cybersecurity and wireless industries, as well as academic institutions that are at the forefront of robotics research and development.

Since the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has linked 94 percent of vehicle crashes to human error, autonomous vehicles have immense potential to save lives. SANDAG understands these safety benefits and was the first planning agency in California to incorporate autonomous vehicle assumptions and resources into the region’s long range transportation plan, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. The Regional Plan envisions that fully automated vehicles could begin to replace conventional cars by 2025. 

The San Diego Regional Proving Ground (RPG) is designated for testing autonomous and connected vehicles; supporting technology; and innovative modes, methods, and models that will transform the movement of people and goods. The RPG is expected to be operational by January 2018.

Recent autonomous vehicle milestones:

  • December 16, 2015: DMV released draft deployment regulations for review

  • September 2016: Federal Automated Vehicles Policy released  

  • September 30, 2016: DMV released revised draft deployment regulations

  • January 2017: USDOT selected the San Diego region as one of ten autonomous vehicle proving grounds in the nation

  • March 10, 2017: DMV published proposed regulations to establish a path for testing and deployment of fully autonomous vehicles in California

  • April 25, 2017: DMV held a public hearing in Sacramento to gather input about proposed regulations

  • June 13, 2017: City of Chula Vista adopted a resolution in support of AV testing on local streets and roads

  • September 6, 2017: U.S. House of Representatives passed the SELF DRIVE Act (H.R.3388)

  • September 12, 2017: USDOT released new federal guidance for Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0

  • September 28, 2017: The American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act (S.1885) was introduced to the U.S. Senate

  • October 11, 2017: DMV published revised regulations for driverless testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles

  • December 2017: DMV anticipated to adopt proposed Driverless Testing and Deployment Regulations 
  • Project Manager

    Antoinette Meier, Principal Regional Planner
    Phone: (619) 699-7381, Email:

    For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or