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Partially-automated trucks to begin driving on I-70 from Indianapolis to Ohio



Indianapolis, Indiana – Partially self-automated trucks may soon be arriving on one Indianapolis interstate thanks to a transportation program centered in Ohio.

Semi-trucks outfitted with three distinct levels of partial automation will soon ply a 166-mile section of Interstate 70 between Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, known as the “I-70 Truck Automation Corridor” by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The $8.8 million, 4-year initiative is a partnership between ODOT/DriveOhio, INDOT, and the Transportation Research Center.

The website for the Drive Ohio project indicates that the objective is to boost both states’ tax revenues.

“The corridor will advance the adoption of truck automation technologies in the logistics industry by integrating these technologies into truck fleets’ daily ‘revenue service’ operations to deliver products across Ohio and Indiana,” the website reads.

Despite the presence of automation, a professional driver will always be in the driver’s seat, according to DriveOhio.

The three stages of automation that will be applied are listed on the website as:

• Truck platooning
• Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 2 automation, and
• SAE Level 4 automation.

Below is a chart from ODOT and DriveOhio that explains the levels.

A particular launch date for the project is not listed on the DriveOhio or ODOT websites, which suggests that it is still in the early phases of its 4-year plan. DriveOhio does specify a few safety measures that will be implemented before to implementation, though.

“Before deploying the automation technologies, a roadway audit of I-70 will assess its automation readiness, provide recommendations on changes for infrastructure owners-operators (IOOs), and develop an open-source software tool that assesses the road’s automated vehicle (AV) readiness,” DriveOhio said.

“It can be replicated by IOOs and departments of transportation and/or toll roads around the country.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation will then receive the testing findings, according to DriveOhio, allowing federal regulators to create policies and scale automation.

According to DriveOhio’s website, officials will eventually establish an AV Readiness Guidebook based on test results and observations.

To learn more about the initiative, send an email to [email protected].

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