Ohio Governor John R Kasich has signed an executive order creating a statewide center for smart mobility, which will act as a one-stop shop that will make it easier for researchers to advance connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies.
The new DriveOhio center will bring together those responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio, with those who are developing new transportation technologies, in order to better coordinate efforts and connect transportation providers with automotive and equipment manufacturers.
Initially, DriveOhio will be housed within the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) headquarters. In order to ensure the center is meeting the needs and keeping up with innovations in the industry, an expert advisory board will be created, which will include leaders in the automotive, telecommunications, software development, insurance, data, and cybersecurity industries, as well as researchers and developers from amongst these sectors.
As a first step, ODOT has issued a request for proposals (RFP) asking teams of engineering, technology and data companies to compete for a contract to develop a statewide technology and data framework for its smart mobility initiative. The executive order also calls upon ODOT to begin outfitting its fleet vehicles with telematics devices that that can start tracking data that will be beneficial to advancing connected vehicle research.
Last year, Ohio announced the creation of new smart highway projects to complement its transportation research corridors along the Ohio Turnpike and a 35-mile long (56km) stretch of US 33 in central Ohio. Portions of Interstate 670 in Columbus and Interstate 90 in northeast Ohio are also being outfitted with advanced vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure (V2X) technologies aimed at helping innovators refine systems for CAVs.
Ohio’s transportation budget signed by the governor in 2017, together with commitments from the federal government and other partners, is investing US$45m for expanded research capabilities at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, which is North America’s most advanced independent automotive test facility and an ideal environment for autonomous vehicle and smart highway research.
“Just as the Wright Brothers gave birth to flight here in Ohio, we are positioning the state to lead on developing the vehicles, highways, and smart transportation technologies of the future,” said Kasich.
“Our goal is to make Ohio the premier destination for researchers, developers, and manufacturers to test, build and deploy advanced mobility solutions that will make our roads safer and less congested.”