Autonomous vehicles to be tested on Ohio rural roads

Drivers may soon see automated vehicles on rural roadways in central and southeast Ohio as DriveOhio’s Rural Automated Driving Systems (ADS) project begins two deployments to gather data that will help define future technology needs.

Automated vehicle technology is revolutionizing the transportation industry, including the way that goods move, and people travel. While most automated driving systems have been tested in urban areas, there’s still much to learn about how automated vehicles operate in rural areas when navigating around curves, over hills, and in and out of shaded areas, reports Bluffton Icon.

Automated vehicles have already been tested at the Transportation Research Center Inc.’s (TRC) 4,500-acre proving grounds in East Liberty, Ohio.

Funded in part by a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, this project aims to demonstrate how connected and automated semi-trucks and passenger vehicles could improve safety for drivers, passengers, and other travelers in rural settings. The project, which focuses on 32 counties in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region, is the most comprehensive testing effort yet to be conducted on rural roads in the United States.

“This project holds great promise for the future of transportation and the economic wellbeing of rural communities, while strengthening Ohio’s historic reputation as a world leader in transportation safety and innovation,” said Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC Inc.

The trucks will first be deployed on the 35-mile U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, specifically designed for testing smart and connected vehicles. Later this year, a private fleet will begin using the trucks in their day-to-day business operations.


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