USDOT Makes $60 Million Available for Automated Driving System Demonstration Projects

December 21, 2018

USDOT announced late Friday it will make up to $60 million in federal grant funding, provided in the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations act, available for demonstration projects that test the safe integration of automated driving systems (ADS) on U.S. roadways.

The goals of the demonstration grants are to test the safe integration of ADS into the on-road transportation system; ensure significant data gathering and sharing of project data with USDOT and the public; and foster collaboration between state and local governments and private partners that harness the expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge of multiple stakeholders.

The notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) states that USDOT will fund projects that:

  • Demonstrate how challenges to the safe integration of ADS into the Nation’s on-road transportation system can be addressed;
  • Provide data and information to identify risks, opportunities, and insights relevant for USDOT safety and rulemaking priorities needed to remove governmental barriers to the safe integration of ADS technologies; and
  • Include early and consistent stakeholder engagement, including early coordination with law enforcement, local public agencies, industry, transportation-challenged populations, the public, and other relevant stakeholders .

Eligible applicants include city, state, or county governments; public and state controlled institutions of higher learning; federally recognized Native American tribal governments; metropolitan planning organizations; transit agencies and authorities; and public academic and research institutions. Private companies and universities are not eligible but can be sub-contractors.

To be eligible, demonstration projects must include a physical demonstration (not just modeling and simulation); include the gathering and sharing of all relevant and required data with USDOT throughout the project in near real time; include input/output user interfaces on the ADS and related applications so users can input a new destination or communicate route information and access information generated by the ADS; and address how the demonstration can be scaled to be applicable across the country.

Applications are due within 90 days of the NOFO’s formal publication in the Federal Register (which should be sometime next week, if the government is open); awardees will be announced in the spring.

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