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FCA’s test center for autonomous features

by David Zatz on

Not so long ago, the late Sergio Marchionne told reporters that Fiat Chrysler was not going to pursue its own autonomous driving program, but would instead work with suppliers.

chelsea 2012

Regardless of who creates the technology, though, FCA will apparently have to test it on its own cars. The company just announced a $30 million investment at the Chelsea Proving Grounds which adds a dedicated highway-speed track for autonomous driving tests, a 35-acre safety feature test area, and a 6,500 square foot “high-tech command center.” The highway section includes obstacles, tunnels, different types of road lighting, and Interstate-type ramps.

truck-grade at ChelseaThe proving grounds are quite large, as shown by this vintage photo.

Construction has likely been ongoing for some time now; the new areas are to be used starting this month. The company will test according to protocols from the European NCAP (New Car Assessment Program), U.S. NCAP, and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), along with “additional automatic electronic brake test simulators.”  In addition to autonomous features, the company can test various advanced safety systems.


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