DriveOhio continues to advance state as 'premier testing ground' for AVs
- Marysville, OH is the latest city to join DriveOhio's Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program, which links the private industry with cities hoping to serve as autonomous and connected vehicle testing sites. By joining the program, Marysville plans to soon be equipped with 1,200 connected vehicles that can communicate with on-road infrastructure.
- Athens, Columbus and Dublin have also signed agreements with DriveOhio, while the City of Springboro is working on finalizing an agreement with the program. Other cities such as Dayton, Youngstown and Cleveland are also considering joining DriveOhio.
- "Maintaining a leadership role nationally and globally as a premier testing ground is in the state’s best interest," Jim Barna, executive director of DriveOhio, said in a statement.
DriveOhio's Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program was created by Gov. John Kasich in May 2018 to lay out statewide rules for autonomous vehicle (AV) testing on public roads. At the time of the program rollout, Kasich embraced the state's weather and terrain, noting the state's "diversity" in those areas and emphasizing their importance in advancing AV technology.
In the short months to follow Kasich's signature on the executive order, the state of Ohio has excelled in AV tech development and testing. In July, the Transportation Research Center, Inc. broke ground on the world's largest automated and connected vehicle testing facility in the world — dubbed SMARTCenter — located in the township of East Liberty, OH. Overall, Ohio has invested an estimated $14 billion in infrastructure projects to make the state the most "autonomous ready" in the U.S.
Columbus has been driving much of this AV innovation through its Smart Columbus initiative. Most recently, the city announced it will roll out self-driving shuttles through a partnership with May Mobility, marking the state's first foray into autonomous shuttles. Columbus also opened the Smart Columbus Experience Center, which interactively features the many ways AVs and connected vehicles will affect residents' lives.
Advancing this pilot program across four cities — with more cities pending — is an impressive feat for DriveOhio, considering the program has only been live for about seven months. Ohio is positioning itself as a significant competitor in the AV landscape among hubs including California and Arizona and is on a trajectory to emerge as the leader in the technology.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Dublin as the latest city to join the program.
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