USDOT Publishes Automated Driving System Demonstration Grant Applicants

USDOT Publishes Automated Driving System Demonstration Grant Applicants

March 28, 2019  | Alice Grossman

March 28, 2019

On March 26, USDOT published the list of applicants for the Automated Driving System (ADS) Demonstration Grants which were announced in December, 2018. The ADS Demonstration program will fund public agencies or institutions for planning, research, and demonstration of the integration of automated driving systems into the national transportation system. USDOT approved $60 million in Federal funding towards the grants, with an award ceiling of $10 million per single grant award.  Online FAQs also state an intention to award no more than $15 million to any individual state, though the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has no mention of an award cap by state. This means that projects in individual states may end up competing against each other to a certain extent, which many agencies seem to be prepared for given the redundancy in submission from the same agency and the likelihood of agencies collaborating on multiple submissions (only lead agencies are listed on the USDOT website).

USDOT received 73 applications from cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, states, transit agencies, other transportation authorities, and public universities. Not surprisingly given their history of a test bed for automated vehicles technologies, California houses nine of the submitted projects, matched for the most submittals with the state of Florida. Highlighting a focus on research, 23 of the proposals come from universities, including four from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute alone. About a fifth of the applications (16) come from cities, 13 from state DOTs (including two submissions from FDOT), and then a variety from transportation agencies such as transit agencies, and toll way authorities. The Oklahoma Indian Nations Council of Governments also submitted and stands out as the only project with a tribal nation lead.

Applicants are likely to have brought in state and local governments and transit agencies as contributing partners providing resources such as direct funds, personnel time, supplies and equipment, physical or digital infrastructure, and expertise. USDOT did not require matching funds for proposed projects, but did state that it is both encouraged and will be considered in the award selection process.

Though the actual submissions aren’t currently available to the public, requirements in the 44-page NOFO suggest that proposals will focus on safety outcomes of implemented ADS technology, especially as it can inform future analysis and rulemaking at the national level. More in-depth focus areas are listed as: significant public benefit(s); addressing market failure and other compelling public needs; economic vitality; complexity of technology; diversity of projects; transportation-challenged populations; and prototypes. Furthermore, projects must include a data element with the proposal including a data management plan as well as an evaluation plan that ties data to project objectives.

With a few commonalities sure to emerge, the variety of focus areas and types of agency leads is likely to lead to disparate project types. Proposals are likely to include vehicle types ranging from sedans and SUVs, to low-speed shuttles, to transit busses. Given the range in lead agencies, operational design domains will also likely run a gamut from city streets to rural or highway corridors, to university or other special use campuses.

Proposals that are well thought-out, data driven, and truly collaborative between operating, governing, and research agencies will give the USDOT the opportunity to select projects that will help advance national understanding of the potential safety benefits of ADS technologies. Well-designed collaborations can help move policy and practice forward by filling holes created by previous reluctance from technology companies and OEMs to share data at a level that can support robust safety analysis has led to a dearth in data-driven performance analysis of new technologies and transportation modes.

Share

Related Articles

"Getting Protected: How Do We Secure Transportation Systems in a Hyper-Connected World?" Centennial Recap

On May 7, 2021, the Colonial Pipeline ceased all production to contain a virtual threat from damaging pipeline operations. The sudden loss...

Op-Ed: Why Automated Driving Faces a Monster Uphill Battle

Op-Ed: Why Automated Driving Faces a Monster Uphill Battle

My three-year-old daughter takes her friend’s power wheels car for a first-time spin. I briefly show her how to turn the steering wheel...

Are federal AV investigations a first step toward federal regulation? Not necessarily, experts say

Are federal AV investigations a first step toward federal regulation? Not necessarily, experts say

"There hasn't been a lot of concrete regulation. The federal government has been largely permissive, and there are very few regulatory...

Webinar: The New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies

Webinar: The New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies

New transportation technologies are coming online faster than ever. While many of these emerging technologies are helping to expand our...

Congressional Hearing Discusses Promises and Perils of Automated Vehicles

Congressional Hearing Discusses Promises and Perils of Automated Vehicles

On May 18, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing on "Promises and...

Guest Op-Ed: The Current State of Public Policy for Autonomous Trucking

Guest Op-Ed: The Current State of Public Policy for Autonomous Trucking

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has long advocated for the benefits autonomous vehicles can bring to the nation’s...

Senate Commerce Looks at AV Development, but Pulls Bill from Schedule

Senate Commerce Looks at AV Development, but Pulls Bill from Schedule

This week, a Senate committee hearing looked at autonomous vehicle (AV) safety regulation, but the committee then postponed debate on AV...

Research on Low Speed Automated Vehicles Demonstrates Their Limitations and Potential

Research on Low Speed Automated Vehicles Demonstrates Their Limitations and Potential

During the final week of the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, the Transit Cooperative Research Program released...

Webinar: How Automated Delivery Could Shape the Future of Local Commerce

Webinar: How Automated Delivery Could Shape the Future of Local Commerce

COVID-19 has highlighted both the value of home delivery and contactless service. Automated vehicles (AV) could potentially enable both....

Guest Op-Ed: It Turns Out, Humans Are Pretty Smart: Developing Self-Driving Cars Is Harder Than We Thought

Guest Op-Ed: It Turns Out, Humans Are Pretty Smart: Developing Self-Driving Cars Is Harder Than We Thought

Self-driving cars. We’ve been promised for years they were “coming soon.” Most estimates a decade ago thought self-driving cars would...

Webinar: Automated Vehicle Technology, Public Policy, and BMW's Level 3 AV System

Webinar: Automated Vehicle Technology, Public Policy, and BMW's Level 3 AV System

While much of the transportation-related news has been focused on COVID-19 recovery, automated vehicle technologies are quietly progressing...

New Automated Vehicle Safety Self-Assessment from BMW Reveals AV Technology Progress, Policy Gaps

New Automated Vehicle Safety Self-Assessment from BMW Reveals AV Technology Progress, Policy Gaps

Last week BMW quietly released a new Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment (VSSA), which was posted to the National Highway Traffic Safety...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks