The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the winners of nearly US$60m in federal grant funding for the safe development and integration of AVs on US roads. Eight different projects will receive the grants, which aim to gather significant safety data to inform rule-making and foster collaboration among state and local government and private partners.
Automation offers the potential to improve safety for vehicle operators, occupants and other travelers sharing the road. To address this potential, DOT solicited applications through the Notice of Funding Opportunity for ADS Demonstration Grants, highlighting key goals for safety, data for safety analysis and rule-making, and collaboration.
One of the applicants receiving a grant is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which will use US$8,409,444 to explore safe integration of ADS into work zones by examining connectivity, visibility, and high-definition mapping technologies. The University of Iwa received US$7,026,769 for a project looking at how to connect rural, transportation-challenged populations using a mobility-friendly ADS built on a commercially available platform.
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Transportation Institute received two grants of US$7,500,000. The first is for a project that will define, develop and demonstrate key dynamic scenarios and their potential solutions for safe interaction of ADS-equipped vehicles in a Northern Virginia corridor optimized for vehicle automation. And the second is to develop and demonstrate a Fleet Concept of Operations to provide the trucking industry with clear guidelines on how to safely implement, and benefit from, ADS-equipped trucks.
Other winners of grants include the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) (through DriveOhio), the City of Detroit and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority
“The department is awarding US$60m in grant funding to test the safe integration of automated vehicles into America’s transportation system while ensuring that legitimate concerns about safety, security and privacy are addressed,” said US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L Chao.