Sen. Warner announces $15M for self-driving vehicle research at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Wednesday, US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) announced the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in Blacksburg will receive $15 million in federal funding to support research on safe automated driving integration. The funding, from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), follows advocacy by Sen. Warner, who pressed Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to grant Virginia the maximum award possible.

“With new technologies, and particularly with automated driving systems, it’s important to get safety right the first time. That’s why I’m so excited to announce that this federal funding will support VTTI in continuing to safely blaze the trail for the future of transportation,” said Sen. Warner, a former technology entrepreneur.

The funding is divided into two $7.5 million grants that will support two VTTI projects. One project will seek to define and develop dynamic scenarios and their potential solutions for vehicle safety in an environment made for automated vehicles. The other will seek to develop a Fleet Concept of Operations to provide the trucking industry with guidelines on how to safely use trucks with automated driving systems.

“Receiving these prestigious awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation is an honor and fantastic for Virginia Tech and Virginia... We are very happy to take these important steps to move automated vehicles forward to save lives, improve mobility across the population, and reduce the impact of vehicle emissions,” said Tom Dingus, director of VTTI.

The grants were awarded through the Automated Driving System (ADS) Demonstration Grants program, which provides federal funding to projects that test the safe integration of automated driving systems into the Nation’s on-road transportation system.

Copyright 2019/WDBJ7. All rights reserved.