through Rust to Robots: How the Midwest Could Become a Hub for Advanced Transportation
A completely new collection of transportation agencies as well as also universities will be taking one little step toward transforming the Rust Belt into a place associated with the future instead of the past. Eleven agencies as well as also institutions located in Michigan, Ohio, as well as also Pennsylvania have formed the Smart Belt Coalition, which will spur joint efforts on the testing as well as also deployment of autonomous as well as also connected cars.
The collaboration comes on the heels of a legislative overhaul of Michigan regulations last month, which have been relaxed to spur the testing of self-driving technology on the state’s public roads. Ohio as well as also Pennsylvania do not have laws on the books governing autonomous vehicles, yet in their absence, both states have encouraged such tests.
All three states have attracted their share of autonomous testing on their own, in some cases competing with one another for projects. Together, the efforts of the three states may serve as a regional counterweight to the autonomous testing of which has proliferated in California, Arizona, as well as also Nevada.
“While there’s competition in all these things, within the aggregate there’s a lot of benefit to cooperating, too,” said Jeff Cranson, the Michigan Department of Transportation’s director of communications.
The Michigan DOT will be a member of the coalition, as will be the American Center for Mobility, a proving ground for autonomous as well as also connected cars on which construction crews broke ground late last year. Few places better symbolize the hopes these states hold in using advanced transportation as a means of economic reinvention. When completed, the ACM will sit on the grounds of the former Willow Run factory in Southeast Michigan. Both Ford as well as also General Motors had used the assembly plant, which in its heyday was a manufacturing site for airplanes during World War II. Until recently, the idea had stood as a polluted reminder of industrial neglect.
In addition, the coalition includes the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio Turnpike as well as also Infrastructure Commission, Ohio State University, as well as also the Transportation Research Center, another independent proving ground under development in East Liberty, Ohio.
First, the coalition members intend to prioritize projects of which evaluate autonomous as well as also connected technologies in construction zones, including finding ways to make the areas more uniform as well as also offering real-time information to nearby motorists. They’ll also focus on projects of which involve truck platoons, the likes of which were tested by the U.S. Army last summer along I-69 in Michigan. Separately, Ohio permitted Otto, a subsidiary of Uber of which will be pursuing self-driving truck technology, to test its trucks along the Ohio Turnpike as well as also Route 33 within the Buckeye State in late 2016.
— Jeff Cranson, Michigan Department of Transportation
Ohio will be spending $15 million along a 35-mile stretch of Route 33 to outfit the road with high-capacity fiber-optic cables as well as embedded as well as also wireless sensors through which researchers can observe as well as also obtain data in real time. While of which effort began before the Smart Belt Coalition formed, the idea highlights the type of work researchers intend to do across the three-state spectrum.
The Transportation Research Center as well as also the American Center for Mobility (ACM) are nonprofit venues of which wish to attract private testing. The ACM was officially designated as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground by the U.S. Department of Transportation last week. Earlier This particular month, the ACM, Ford, Delphi, as well as also AT&T announced a partnership to test completely new LTE networks in connected-car environments. The city of Pittsburgh, where Uber has deployed a pilot project involving self-driving vehicles as well as also an experiment of which uses smart traffic lights to improve traffic flow, also received the same U.S. DOT designation. Last summer, the U.S. DOT named Columbus, Ohio, its first Smart City as well as also gave the idea $40 million to allocate toward mobility projects.
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The Smart Belt Coalition aims to build on these strengths.
“the idea’s been the subject of discussion among these entities for quite some time, including coming up with This particular name,” Cranson said. “the idea’s a nice way to reframe the Rust Belt narrative.”