ODOT and AECOM officials met with officials from Dayton, Springboro, Kettering, Fairborn and beyond Thursday at the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission downtown Dayton offices.
“This is the wave of the future,” John Gray, AECOM associate vice president and technical practice leader, told those at the local meeting. “This is the direction we’re going in.”
The goal is to put technology in place allowing autonomous vehicles communicate with each other and other sources, reducing accidents and traffic mishaps.
An average of about 1,000 Ohio drivers are killed annually. According to DriveOhio, driver error is responsible for about 90 percent of all crashes.
READ MORE: Area college getting involved with self-driving cars program
Ground was broken this year for what the state says will be the world’s largest autonomous and connected vehicle testing facility in East Liberty.
Dubbed the “SMARTCenter,” the new site is designed to test advanced automotive and mobility technologies in a “real-world” environment before putting vehicles on public roads.
Google famously has its “Waymo” subsidiary devoted to autonomous vehicle technology, and General Motors is developing its own division, dubbed “GM Cruise,” a unit it bought in 2016 as a start-up. And this summer, Ford created its own self-driving tech division, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.
State leaders want to learn “What’s important to us at the state level, what’s important to our local partners, and to see how we can organize that,” said Andrew Bremer, managing director at DriveOhio.
Asked about specific timelines, Bremer said it was too soon to discuss those.
“It’s like looking into a crystal ball and saying who is going to win the World Series,” he said.
“The goal is to gather as much information while at the same time piloting those projects that have an impact on safety. That’s our No. 1 priority in this department, safety.”