(COLUMBUS,OHIO) - Ohio has won another U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant focused on automated driving technology. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded a team led by DriveOhio, an initiative of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) focused on automated and connected transportation technologies, $4.4 million for their Interstate 70 (I-70) Truck Automation Corridor project through the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Program.
“Thanks to the leadership of the DeWine-Husted Administration, Ohio continues to lead the nation in the deployment of automated driving technology,” said Jack Marchbanks, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. “Once again, collaboration was the key to success – the project team assembled features state DOTs, technology providers and the men and women of the freight industry. We at the Ohio Department of Transportation and DriveOhio are excited for the positive economic impacts this project will bring to Ohio.”
“This $4.4 million DOT grant is good news for Ohio and economic development and job creation in the state. I applaud the Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason for providing Ohio with the resources needed to help support the I-70 Truck Automation Corridor project. This federal grant will help further facilitate the partnerships between the Ohio Department of Transportation, DriveOhio, and the Indiana Department of Transportation to leverage innovative autonomous driving technology,” said U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). “I’m pleased to see this federal investment in our region and look forward to seeing how this partnership strengthens the reliability of autonomous driving and promotes further economic development in Ohio.”
The I-70 Truck Automation Corridor project is a collaboration between ODOT, DriveOhio, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) that will deploy smart logistics solutions along a stretch of I-70 between Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. This multi-state approach, along with participation from technology providers, truck manufacturers, regional logistics councils and private freight companies, makes this project unique. With partners contributing $4.5 million in matching funds, the total investment in Ohio for this project will be $8.9 million.
“We have something special here in Ohio,” said Patrick Smith, interim Executive Director at DriveOhio. “As self-driving technology matures, it is important that everyone has a seat at the table. With the coalition of public, private and research institutions that we have built, we’re confident this project will provide valuable insights to USDOT and industry as we develop smart logistics policies, procedures and technology standards that will be shared across the nation.”
The project will provide freight companies and truck automation vendors an opportunity to deploy partially automated driving technology in daily “revenue service” operations on I-70 between Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. To ensure the safe deployment of these technologies on public roads, the TRC will be an integral part of this project. Offering professional driver training for host fleets and performing an automation audit of I-70, the data the TRC collects will provide DOT partners the insights they need to ensure their roadways are ready for partially automated vehicles. During public road testing, a professional driver will be at the wheel always should human intervention be needed. The project data gathered will be shared with USDOT to inform the development of policies and procedures to scale across the United States.
“Connected and autonomous driving technology is revolutionizing how we move people and products across our country,” Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said. “Indiana and Ohio are proud to partner with USDOT to lead in the deployment of technology in a multistate Highway corridor that will guide the future of automated driving and freight movement.”
Ohio and Indiana have millions of transportation industry-related jobs, are within a one-day’s drive to 60% of the U.S. and Canadian population and have experienced substantial freight growth within and through the states. The data gained from this four-year project will support technological innovation in this important sector of our regional economy.