What’s Happening: DriveOhio is initiating a Rural Automated Driving Systems (ADS) project to explore automated vehicle technology in rural areas of central and southeast Ohio. The project aims to gather data that will inform future technological advancements and applications.
Why It Matters: Automated vehicles are transforming the transportation industry in urban settings, but there’s still much to learn about their functionality in rural areas. Understanding how these systems navigate rural environments is essential to maximize their potential and ensure safe integration nationwide.
- The project is funded in part by a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and focuses on 32 counties in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region.
- Testing has already taken place at the Transportation Research Center Inc.’s (TRC) 4,500-acre proving grounds in East Liberty, Ohio.
- The first deployment involves three passenger vehicles with AutomouStuff technology, while the second features two 53-foot platoon-equipped tractor-trailers.
- Professional drivers will be present during testing to ensure safety and take over if necessary.
Bottom Line: DriveOhio’s Rural ADS project will provide invaluable data on automated vehicle technology in rural settings, paving the way for safer integration and addressing the unique challenges faced in these areas. The project holds the potential to improve transportation safety and boost the economic wellbeing of rural communities while reinforcing Ohio’s reputation as a leader in transportation innovation.