Michigan, Ohio get federal support for autonomous vehicle research

Sept. 13, 2019

The U.S. DOT is awarding $7.5 million grants to the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, the University of Michigan and the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan; and an Ohio-based team of industry, academic and community partners, respectively, to boost research, development, and testing of self-driving cars.

Testing in Michigan will take place at the University of Michigan’s Mcity and the American Center for Mobility, as well as on the streets of Detroit. The funding is being granted to a collective of organizations known as the Michigan Mobility Collaborative from MDOT’s Automated Driving System Demonstration Grants program. It is part of $60 million being doled out for autonomous vehicle testing by the Trump administration.

“This investment will help keep Michigan at the forefront of mobility, and ensure our state remains the global leader in developing self-driving innovations and building the vehicles of the future,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said in a statement.

The Ohio DOT grant will be used to develop and deploy automated transportation systems on the state’s rural roads and highways. DriveOhio and the Transportation Research Center (TRC) will lead a team of partners, including Ohio State University, Ohio University, and the University of Cincinnati, to test the safe integration of automated driving systems over a period of four years.

DriveOhio operates within ODOT and ensures that state regulations and public policies accommodate the development of infrastructure and technology needed for smart mobility. The TRC is an independent facility with a 4,500-acre campus in East Liberty that serves as a testing ground for projects related to engineering, research and development, compliance and certification. The grant was made possible through ODOT’s Automated Driving System Demonstration grant program, which supports projects that are meant to generate data to inform rulemaking and encourage collaboration on automated driving systems.

“The award of this grant shows that Ohio continues to be at the center of this new transportation technology era,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in the ODOT press release. “Ohio is committed to being at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle technology development.”

The total investment in this project will be $17.8 million: $7.5 million from the federal government and $10.3 million from partners in matching funds.