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US gives three states grants for self-driving car research

Michigan, Ohio and Virginia are the first recipients with more to come.

Ford Self Driving Car in Miami
Automakers aren't the only parties interested in self-driving car research.

The US Department of Transportation has issued the first three awards from its Automated Driving Systems Demonstration Grants, and it's good news for Michigan, Ohio and Virginia.

Each of the three states are the first recipients with $7.5 million apiece for Michigan and Ohio, and $15 million for Virginia. Michigan's grant will help various partners to continue testing and researching autonomous vehicle technology in general. The University of Michigan and the American Center For Mobility are two partners involved in the research. Additionally, the Michigan Mobility Collaborative plans to develop a process to evaluate self-driving car systems' safety.

In Ohio, the funds will go to automated driving projects for rural roads and highways, DriveOhio said. The state's Transportation Research Center will be responsible for deploying technologies for the rural areas. DriveOhio itself will focus on new mobility projects in general.

Out in Virginia, the $15 million will go toward two projects. The first is a study on how autonomous cars communicate and interact in an ideal environment, while the second will look at self-driving systems for trucks. Speaking about the grants, US Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner, said, "With new technologies, and particularly with automated driving systems, it's important to get safety right the first time."

The Department of Transportation has funds for up to $60 million in grants for autonomous driving research and plans to award additional grants in the future.

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