The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration recently awarded a $4.4 million grant to the Ohio Department of Transportation to help support the completion of the Interstate 70 truck automation corridor project, which will help advance truck automation technologies through the deployment of this technology along I-70 in both Ohio and Indiana.
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.
The I-70 Truck Automation Corridor project is a collaboration between ODOT, DriveOhio, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and the Transportation Research Center, which will deploy smart logistics solutions along a stretch of I-70 between Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. During public road testing, a professional driver will be at the wheel always should human intervention be needed.
Offering professional driver training for host fleets and performing an automation audit of I-70, the data the Transportation Research Center collects will provide DOT partners the insights they need to ensure their roadways are ready for partially automated vehicles. The project data gathered will be shared with the U.S. DOT to inform the development of policies and procedures to scale across the United States.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Transportation, and DriveOhio have partnered on this undertaking, with partners contributing $4.5 million in matching funds, for a total investment of $8.9 million. The group will share data to scale up the use of this technology within the transportation system and identify infrastructure needs of the interstate system as the number of automated vehicles on the roads continues to increase. This project will assist in the development of state DOT roadway automation installation, maintenance, and regulatory standards as this technology is scaled across the nation.
“This $4.4 million DOT grant is good news for Ohio and economic development and job creation in the state. 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) in a release.
This is not Ohio’s first involvement with autonomous vehicle testing. In 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced a $15 million investment to turn a 35-mile stretch of Route 33, located outside Columbus, into a testing ground for autonomous vehicles.