A Cool 60 Million for Automated Driving R&D

Photo: City of Detroit

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded nearly $60 million in grant funding to eight projects in seven states to test the safe integration of automated driving systems (ADS). The grants seek to gather safety data to inform rulemaking and foster collaboration amongst state and local government and private partners.

Out of 73 grant applications received through the Funding Opportunity for ADS Demonstration Grants, DOT selected the following applicants for funding:

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES).

AVA: Automated Vehicles for All

To develop and test ADS for rural roads without high-definition maps and with no or low-quality road signs or markings. $7,063,787.

“As current ADS deployment efforts have focused on large cities (excluding more than 80% of Americans from access to the safety benefits of this technology),” the proposal reads, “and have overlooked the multimodal interactions (where the safety benefits of ADS can be quickly realized), this study will focus on rural roads as well as multimodal driving environments.”

Key industry partners: General Motors, NVIDIA, and National Instruments support this proposal by providing hardware and software as well as consulting in all project phases, including planning, data collection, and data analysis.

University of Iowa

ADS for Rural America

To connect rural, transportation-challenged populations using a mobility-friendly ADS built on a commercially available platform. $7,026,769.

The project will drive in a loop from a mid-sized city (Iowa City) through rural areas and small towns, providing an example for how ADS can connect rural populations. With a focus on connecting rural transportation-challenged populations like the rapidly growing aging sector, ADS for Rural America will utilize a custom, mobility-friendly ADS built on a commercially available platform. By 2030, 22% of Iowa’s population will be over age 64.

Industrial partners: AutonomouStuff, a supplier of R&D platforms, products, software, engineering services, and data intelligence to aid in the advancement of robotics and autonomy; Mandli Communications, Inc, specializing in highway data collection and the integration of 3D pavement technology, mobile LiDAR, and geospatial data collection equipment for various state DOTs.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Transportation Institute

Safely Operating ADS in Challenging Dynamic Scenarios: An Optimized Automated Driving Corridor Demonstration

To 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. $7,500,000.

Industrial partners: representatives of manufacturers through Crash Avoidance Metrics Partners (CAMP), a consortium of automakers who led an

initial project with VTTI to characterize and define interactions between public safety officials and ADS.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Transportation Institute

Trucking Fleet CONOPS for Managing Mixed Fleets

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. $7,500,000.

Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) (through DriveOhio)

D.A.T.A. in Ohio: Deploying Automated Technology Anywhere

To conduct a multi-pronged demonstration approach focusing on rural environments, cooperative automation, and robust data collection to enable development of effective and informed ADS policies. $7,500,000

Industry partners: Bosch, Columbus Yellow Cab, AutonomouStuff and Robotic Research.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Safe Integration of Automated Vehicles (AV) in Work Zones

To explore safe integration of ADS into work zones by examining connectivity, visibility, and high-definition mapping technologies. $8,409,444

Industry partners: PPG Industries, Qualcomm, Ford, Argo, Volvo/Mack, and


City of Detroit, MI

Michigan Mobility Collaborative – ADS Demonstration

To implement the Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications (CARMA) Level 3 software platform for demonstration testing focused on mobility, safety, and endurance. $7,500,000

Industrial partner: Ford Smart Mobility

Contra Costa Transportation Authority, CA

Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s ADS Demonstration Program

To demonstrate Level 3 and Level 4 vehicles using shared on-demand, wheelchair accessible ADS-equipped vehicles.      $7,500,000

Increase transit accessibility for the elderly community using shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs). Provide on-demand, wheelchair-accessible, autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service to people who don’t have transportation. Prepare the corridor for future Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV). Install new and upgraded vehicle-to-vehicle infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) such as DSRC and 4G/5G communications, to accommodate both CAV technology and implementation of innovative operational strategies.

For full proposal documents on all the above, visit https://www.transportation.gov/av/grants.