They've been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) and could be on Iowa City-Cedar Rapids roads soon.

According to KWWL, ten "proving grounds" were approved by the US DOT last month. Those include the Iowa City Area Development Group, which KCRG says the US DOT is "encouraging" to test driverless vehicles before 2017 ends. The driverless vehicles will be tested to see how they do when it comes to lane changes and keeping a safe distance.

This isn't necessarily something I'm thrilled about eastern Iowa being a testing ground for, but there is something that makes me feel better about it. No, the vehicles won't have drivers, but they also won't be totally empty. There will be someone in the passenger seat, just in case. Still, the first time I look over at a stop light and see an empty driver's seat, I'll do a double-take. And I might just speed up a little. After all, you always want to be ahead of something that could, just could, be a hazard to you.

[via KWWL and KCRG]