Funding will aid in the testing of self-driving vehicles on rural roads across 32 counties in Ohio.
 - Photo via Pxhere.

Funding will aid in the testing of self-driving vehicles on rural roads across 32 counties in Ohio.

Photo via Pxhere.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a grant of $7.5 million to a team of Ohio-based organizations to test autonomous vehicles technologies on rural roads.

The Automated Driving Systems Demonstration Grant will aid in funding towards a four-year plan to test the safe integration of automated driving systems on public roads and highways. The Ohio-based team is made up of the Transportation Research Center Inc., Ohio State University, Ohio University, and the University of Cincinnati.

With partners contributing $10.3 million in matching funds, the total investment in Ohio for this project will be $17.8 million.

“This is a huge win for the state of Ohio. By focusing on 32 counties in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region, studies supported by this grant will be the most comprehensive effort yet to be conducted on our nation’s rural roads,” said Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“Although 97% of the nation is rural, and more than half of all U.S. traffic fatalities occur on rural roads, most of this testing to date in other states has been conducted in urban areas. The lessons we learn in Ohio can have enormous benefits for our own state and nationwide as we work to make our transportation system safer.”

Testing will occur in all driving conditions, including all seasons, day and night, and paved and unpaved roads. Some testing will also occur during periods of limited visibility and in work zones. During testing, a driver will be behind the wheel if intervention is needed.

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