Driverless cars to be tested in San Diego County

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- The Chula Vista City Council has agreed to let the city's streets become a giant laboratory for autonomous cars, also known as driverless vehicles.

Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation selected 10 sites around the country to become proving grounds, with San Diego being one of them.

SANDAG is coordinating the local effort and has designated Chula Vista as the region's primary testing area. The carpool lanesĀ  of Interstate15 and the southern portion of state Route 125 are other test sites.

"Our regional plan expects that by 2035 we'll have about 50 percent market penetration. In 2025, we'll have the ability to purchase autonomous vehicles," said SANDAG's Antoinette Meier.

Chula Vista agreed to the experiment and believes accidents involving test vehicles will be few and far between.

"Part of the testing will prove the safety levels of autonomous vehicles. The belief is that machines and computers can react much more quickly than humans, detecting their surroundings every second and nanosecond," said Chula Vista spokesman Bill Valle.

No definite date was provided to start incorporating the autonomous cars into Chula Vista traffic.