Why can't we all have an abandoned ghost town to test cars?
Testing an autonomous vehicle in a developed urban area comes with some complications. If the car hits another car, or a building, or a person, it would be a disaster. Honda has found a clever solution to tests its autonomous vehicles and we think it's genius. Honda has taken a former Naval base and turned it into the "GoMentum Station." The decommissioned five-acre town once housed military personnel and their families, but is now abandoned except for a few overgrown plants and animals - who cares if you crash into a plant, right?
The "GoMentum Station" gives Honda access to 20 miles of various road types. There are plenty of buildings and intersections, just like in the real world. The faded road lines and cracks in the road make it difficult for the autonomous car to navigate, so this is actually a very good test to see if the system really works. In the real world, there are many areas where the roads are in need of repair, and autonomous cars will need to be able to handle it. Honda's Chief Engineer of Research and Development, Jim Keller says that the automaker will have use of this facility for the foreseeable future, although Honda will have to handle the upkeep as part of the deal. Eventually Honda will add new lines and road signs.
We would absolutely love to have an entire ghost town available to test cars. Our minds have already gone wild thinking about the possibilities. While Honda is testing autonomous cars, we would be busy drag racing and doing burnouts all over this police-free ghost town. In all seriousness, this area would be an excellent place to develop a comfortable sports car. The Nurburgring is a good place to test a car's speed, but the "GoMentum Station" might be the perfect place to build a sports car that is still comfortable.