The University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) received a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to study the safe deployment of automated vehicles in rural areas.
The grant will be used for the Automated Driving Systems for Rural America project, a demonstration of automated vehicle technologies that will gather publicly-available data, with a focus on how these technologies can help mobility-challenged rural residents. The mobility-friendly vehicle system will be built on a commercially-available platform.
The on-road demonstration will provide more data and information that can help identify challenges, opportunities, and insights relevant to safely operating automated vehicles on rural roads.
“Our Automated Driving Systems for Rural America project will help to demonstrate the safe integration of automated vehicles on our nation’s rural roadways, particularly how they can benefit America’s rapidly growing senior population,” says Daniel McGehee, NADS director and UI professor of industrial and systems engineering. “We’re committed to leading in automated vehicle safety research.”
The study is one of the few automated vehicle studies in rural areas. Most are conducted in heavily populated urban areas, despite the fact that 50% of highway crash fatalities occur on rural roads, even though only 19% of the population lives in those areas.