Ohio making $15M investment in highway tech for 35-mile autonomous ‘proving ground’

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Updated Dec 2, 2016
Trucking tech company Otto’s self-driving truck drove the 35-mile stretch of the Smart Mobility Corridor between Dublin, Ohio, and East Liberty, Ohio.Trucking tech company Otto’s self-driving truck drove the 35-mile stretch of the Smart Mobility Corridor between Dublin, Ohio, and East Liberty, Ohio.

The state of Ohio announced Wednesday it is investing $15 million to install advanced highway technology along a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 for what will be called the Smart Mobility Corridor.

The corridor is a four-lane, limited access highway that will be used as a “real-world proving ground” for autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. The stretch of highway runs from Dublin to East Liberty, Ohio. Trucking technology company Otto was on-hand for the announcement Wednesday, and one of its self-driving trucks traveled the 35-mile corridor.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced the state’s $15 million investment Wednesday that will result in a “proving ground” for autonomous and connected vehicle technology.Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced the state’s $15 million investment Wednesday that will result in a “proving ground” for autonomous and connected vehicle technology.

“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,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

ODOT will equip the corridor with high-capacity fiber-optic cable that will link researchers and traffic monitors, which will provide the researchers with data from sensors along the highway. ODOT plans to begin installing sensors and cables along the corridor in May 2017, a project it anticipates will last through the summer.

“Data collected on this corridor will allow automotive innovators to test and refine jobs‑creating technologies that are going to help move people and products more safely and efficiently than ever before,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

As autonomous and connected vehicle research expands throughout the state, the Ohio Turnpike with its existing fiber-optic network is set to become the centerpiece of a contiguous, interstate highway test corridor eventually stretching from New York to Detroit and Chicago, according to ODOT.