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Ohio’s ‘Smart’ Road Plans for Driverless Trucks

Image via Flickr automobileitalia

Driverless trucks are undergoing testing in several states, and Ohio is creating the ideal testing environment with its “smart” road plan. The state plans to build this road over a 35 mile stretch. Take a look at what the state hopes to accomplish with this smart road.

Ohio’s Smart Mobility Corridor

At the end of 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced the construction of a Smart Mobility Corridor in the central part of the state. The smart road will run along a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 33 in Logan County. It will be equipped with sensor systems and a fiberoptic cable network to aid in automotive testing.

While talking about the project, Governor Kasich said, “Ohio has been at the heart of automotive manufacturing and innovation since the industry’s earliest days. Those ties strengthen with each passing year and innovations developed here will continue to build on our state’s historic role as a world leader in transportation technology.”

The purpose of this project is to test smart transportation technologies on a highway that travels through both urban and rural settings. The 35-mile stretch of road gets estimated traffic of 50,000 vehicles per day. The Smart Road Corridor will have four lanes and a limited access structure.

Automotive Testing Companies Benefit From the Smart Road

Otto, a self-driving truck manufacturer owned by Uber, plans to test its driverless trucks in Ohio. The Smart Mobility Corridor will aid in the company’s testing. Otto uses sensors that are located on the top of its trucks. They scan the road ahead for traffic markings to ensure an unobstructed path. Ohio’s smart road can provide data to help Otto and other automotive testing companies improve the safety and reliability of their driverless vehicles.

Most retail products endure long-haul transit before reaching retailers. Driverless trucks could revolutionize the industry with faster and more reliable transportation. Some worry that driverless trucks will put people out of work, but there’s already a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. Driverless trucks will help the industry and improve on safety.

Technology Leaders Will Work on the Smart Road Project

Several businesses partnered with Ohio on the smart road project, including the Transportation Research Center at East Liberty, Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research, and Honda R&D Americas. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the University of Dayton, the University of Cincinnati, and Wright State University will all aid in developing the technology. Ohio has invested approximately $15 million in the Smart Road Corridor, and construction is scheduled to begin in May 2017.

Governor Kasich stated, “Some of the world’s foremost automotive researchers are working here in Ohio, at both ends of this corridor, and this project provides them with the perfect location and state-of-the-art infrastructure for safely testing autonomous and connected vehicle technologies.”

Driverless vehicles are the future of transportation, particularly in the long-haul freight industry. Ohio wants to be at the forefront of the industry, and its smart road is what will make the state a leader. Driverless trucks and technology could begin testing on the new corridor by the end of next year.

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