The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched an online tracking tool to improve the safety and testing transparency of automated vehicle (AV) driving systems.

The public can use the tool to obtain automated driving system on-road testing data and safety performance in 17 cities across the country.

These cities include Austin, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Washington DC.

US DOT secretary Elaine Chao said: “This tool gives the public online access to data about the on-road testing of automated driving systems so the public can understand more about this new technology.”

The new tracking tool is part of the AV Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing (AV TEST) initiative, which is overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Ten companies and nine states have already signed for the voluntary web pilot.

The online platform will allow participants to share testing activities related to automated driving systems and other safety-related information with the public.

Online mapping tools will show testing locations at the local, state and national levels and testing activity data, including dates, frequency, vehicle counts and routes.

NHTSA deputy administrator James Owens said: “The more information the public has about the on-road testing of automated driving systems, the more they will understand the development of this promising technology.

“Automated driving systems are not yet available for sale to the public, and the AV TEST Initiative will help improve public understanding of the technology’s potential and limitations as it continues to develop.”

The tool will soon be operational for the safe development and testing of automated driving system vehicles.

Under the initiative, expected participants include departments of motor vehicles, DOTs, highway safety offices, city governments, developers, manufacturers, suppliers, operators, and testers.