The Federal Highway Administration is awarding $4.5 million to a partnership between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Drive Ohio for a project to research partially automated driving technology on I-70 between Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. 

Conexus Indiana worked with Logistics Council partners to identify and secure an asset owned carrier, JAT in Fort Wayne, that made frequent and repeatable trips to Columbus along the I-70 corridor to collect data for the study.

“Indiana has become a national leader in freight and logistics by leveraging sustained infrastructure investment and embracing innovation,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb told Inside Indiana Business. “As connected and autonomous vehicles take root, collaboration between public and private partners will be critical to safe, successful deployments. I’m proud that INDOT and our partners will be in the pole position when it comes to research and informing policy on this game-changing technology.”

The Transportation Research Center and Ohio Department of Transportation are also involved in the project from the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Program. The Transportation Research Center will be tasked with ensuring the safety of the project by offering driver training and performing an automation audit of I-70. This stretch of I-70 was chosen due to Indiana and Ohio having millions of transportation-related jobs and being within one day’s drive to 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian populations.

The goal of this project will be to accelerate truck automation technology adoption via revenue service deployments that use real drivers, hauling freight and operating under real-world conditions. It will also prepare state DOT roadway automation technology-oriented maintenance and operating practices and vehicle technology-oriented regulatory standards to share with other state DOTs and their safety agency partners.

The project intends to share data and field experiences with the logistics industry to inform truck automation adoption and with the United States Department of Transportation and state DOTs for safety and outreach considerations. It will also provide a consistent opportunity with simplified regulations for truck automation vendors and host fleets to showcase and adopt truck automation technologies. 

The project will launch next year and conduct its research over the next three years.