Ohio Awarded $17.8 Million to Study Self-Driving Cars

Research will focus on rural U.S. roads, which could benefit Ohio and the nation at large.

September 17, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The state of Ohio has received $17.8 million in grant money to generate data on autonomous vehicles, reports U.S. News. Ohio already plays a prominent role in vehicle automation research, and officials say the funding will help keep the state at the forefront.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and a group of other organizations, including DriveOhio and the Transportation Research Center, received a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. An additional $10.3 million was contributed in matching funds.

Brett Roubinek, the Transportation Research Center's president and CEO, said the grant will be used to study self-driving vehicles on rural roads, since most prior research has involved urban driving conditions. The project will help policymakers by providing data on automated systems. The research will start in the next few months and continue over four years.

Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, said that by focusing on 32 counties in Ohio's rural Appalachian region, studies supported by the grant will be the most comprehensive so far on automated driving on America’s rural roads.

"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," said Marchbanks. Other research partners are Ohio State University, Ohio University and the University of Cincinnati.