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DOT Grants Back Development of Autonomous-Vehicle Industry

January 2020 - WardsAuto
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On Dec. 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a Notice of Funding encouraging municipalities, states or other organizations to submit detailed proposals to conduct autonomous-vehicle research and development.

Applicants faced stiff competition with a total of 73 applications nationwide and a pool of $60 million at stake. DOT’s statement of purpose emphasized that safety was its top priority, including data collection for safety analysis and rule-making. The grants will give winning stakeholders a leg up in the regional autonomous vehicle competition.

DOT ultimately awarded funding to eight projects in mid-September 2019. Each of the winning proposals has a unique focus and fulfills a niche area of research. DOT aims to study a broad range of autonomous-vehicle applications in a variety of settings. Thus, awards emphasize research in urban, suburban or rural areas and include freight, personal mobility and public transportation. 

Tod Northman, Emmanuel Sanders, and Lex Ehrenschwender outline the eight projects here.

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