COLCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — A newly completed $1 million driving test loop is open at the Consumer Reports Test Track in Colchester.

The new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) loop is one of the most significant and expansive upgrades the organization has made to its auto-testing center since it purchased the facility in 1986.

The Consumer Reports testing facility added a 1.5-mile loop built to model Department of Transportation specifications.

“It’s not the smoothest thing in the world but it’s staying between the lanes,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at the Consumer Reports Test Track.

The new was needed to test driver-assist features that should keep a car in a lane.

“This vehicle does have a detection where it sees a stop sign and will stop at the intersection.” 

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The new testing loop was needed to test driver-assist features that should keep a car in a lane and avoid collisions, which are not standard equipment but may prevent pedestrian deaths, wnt up by 1/3 between 2010 and 2019. 

“More recent data showed the same trend which is devastating but it’s also one hundred percent preventable,” said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board says driver-assist features can save lives and with 43,000 people dying annually, it’s important to test how well they work. 

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Homendy said. 

What they also really stressed here also is that right now there are no fully self-driving cars but if a car does have driver assistance you still need to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. 

“They’re not going to be replacing my driver anytime soon. It’s a technology that still has a way to go,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. 

Many are glad they will drive down that road to discovery here in Colchester.

“The better these systems get the more risk there is of over-reliance,” Fisher said.