USDOT Announces New Rural Autonomous Vehicle Research Program


USDOT has announced a $25 million funding opportunity for its Rural Autonomous Vehicle (RAV) research program. Accredited universities are eligible to apply for this competitive, six-year cooperative agreement program.

Recipients will use RAV program funding to conduct research regarding the benefits and responsible application of automated vehicles and associated mobility technologies in rural and Tribal communities. One $15 million award will focus on passenger transportation, and a separate $10 million award will focus on movement of freight to support and enable automated freight and delivery vehicles serving rural areas.

“Automated vehicles have the potential to enhance roadway safety and increase mobility options for all Americans, including older Americans, low-income households, people with disabilities, and those who cannot or choose not to drive,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief scientist. “Disparities in mobility and economic development opportunities in rural and Tribal communities leave many in those underserved communities unable to get to where they need to go to meet the needs of their daily life regularly, reliably, and safely; or to get necessary goods delivered. This research will move the needle forward.”

This funding opportunity devoted to rural and Tribal applications of automated vehicle technologies will help USDOT advance mobility and safety solutions for the entire transportation sector, in a manner that serves policy priorities as outlined in its Innovation Principles.

An informational webinar on this funding opportunity will be held in January. Read more about the USDOT Rural Autonomous Vehicle Program.