The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is focused on future-proofing our infrastructure investments by increasing our understanding of the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry and undertaking initiatives to advance testing and research in the state. In fact, our updated agency mission statement and strategic plan highlight our support for innovative technologies and new modes of transportation to enhance Indiana’s economic competitiveness and quality of life.

The strength of transportation equipment manufacturing in Indiana and Ohio provides us with a competitive advantage in the research and development of new disruptive transportation technology. Regional technology cluster analyses and economic development opportunities may be incorporated into our industry engagement plan.

On June 16, 2020, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $4.4M in Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant funds for the I-70 Truck Automation Corridor partnership between Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)/DriveOhio and INDOT. Each state committed an additional $2.5M in in-kind contributions and funding, bringing the four-year project budget to $8.9M.

The program funds early deployments of forward-looking technologies that can serve as national models. The FAST Act established the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program to make competitive grants for the development of model deployment sites for large scale installation and operation of advanced transportation technologies to improve safety, efficiency, system performance, and infrastructure return on investment. For fiscal years 2016 through 2020, $60 million is authorized for ATCMTD grant funds, with a Federal share of up to 50 percent of the cost of each project.

The I-70 Truck Automation Corridor program is a natural next step in the industry’s adoption strategy for truck automation technologies. We envision the project to be the first major sustaining truck automation deployment corridor in the U.S. on I-70 (Ohio and Indiana).

Our goal for ODOT/DriveOhio and INDOT is to facilitate and provide host fleets and truck automation vendors an opportunity to deploy technology in revenue service on Ohio and Indiana Interstate System routes.

Program objectives include:

  • Accelerate truck automation technology adoption via revenue service deployments that use real drivers, hauling real freight and operating under real-world conditions.
  • 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.
  • Share data and field experiences with logistics industry to inform truck automation adoption and with USDOT and state DOTs for safety and outreach considerations.
  • Provide a consistent opportunity with simplified regulations for truck automation vendors and host fleets to showcase and adopt truck automation technologies.

ODOT/DriveOhio and INDOT believes this program will help advance truck automation in the U.S. The three-task program is intended to spur transportation automation technology adoption via revenue service deployments involving Ohio and Indiana logistics industry partners, provide information and outreach to promote further technology adoption by industry, and analyze the road infrastructure for the deployments and any infrastructure issues that may inhibit adoption of automation technology.

The project includes three tasks (see Figure 1) that are intended to help Ohio and Indiana prepare for truck automation adoption:

  1. Automated Truck Revenue Service Deployment – Revenue service truck automation deployments by logistics firms using I-70 in Ohio and
  2. Outreach, Sustainment, and Scalability – Outreach to better understand user needs and to share deployment data and lessons learned from automation deployments shared to increase participation. Commitment by Ohio DOT through DriveOhio, along with Ohio and Indiana DOTs, to sustain the program beyond the grant and to scale it as truck technology adoption
  3. Interstate System Automated Audit and Repair – Identification of road infrastructure needs for automated vehicles and the readiness of the system as the number of automated vehicles

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