Beginning next year, autonomous cars will be traveling the streets of Chula Vista and the South Bay Expressway as part of a proposal approved by city and county leaders.
In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation selected the San Diego region as one of 10 autonomous vehicle (AV) proving ground sites.
In June, the Chula Vista City Council approved the use of its streets for the project.
“Already, businesses are here that are involved in emerging technology," Chula Vista City Engineer, Bill Valle said after the council vote.
Chula Vista hopes to use new, upgraded street lights with sensors to help collect the testing information and share it with other testing grounds and companies to improve self-driving car safety.
The San Diego Regional Autonomous Vehicle Proving Ground pilot is expected to launch in early 2018.
Now, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will meet Friday to discuss the plans and preparations to get the program launched by early 2018 as proposed.
Three areas in San Diego County were chosen where manufacturers like Toyota and Qualcomm will be testing vehicles.
Those test roads include the I-15 express lanes, the southern segment of the South Bay Expressway and streets and roads within the City of Chula Vista.
Because the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has linked 94 percent of vehicle crashes to human error, SANDAG officials say autonomous vehicles have immense potential to save lives.
Commissioner Jim Madaffer with the California Transportation Commission said while there are some failures, there are also a lot of successes and the cars are always learning.
"All those autonomous vehicles have a driver sitting behind the wheel, so there is a steering wheel with hands ready to take over at any moment,” Madaffer said in June.
More than 30 car and technology companies already have permits to operate self-driving cars in California.