Smart Logistics: Accelerating Deliveries Across Ohio

“Where’s my stuff?” This question is on the mind of many Ohioans these days, as global supply chain challenges have affected deliveries worldwide.

The logistics industry is a key driver of Ohio’s economy – and the state is built for modern logistics and distribution. Ohio’s infrastructure and location ensure that companies can easily reach customers across North America and around the world.

At DriveOhio – an initiative of the Ohio Department of Transportation and the state’s center for smart mobility on the ground and in the air – we’re collaborating with industry, government, researchers and students to accelerate the safe and easy movement of goods across Ohio by deploying automation and next-generation mobility solutions.

As one example, the I-70 Truck Automation Corridor project – led by DriveOhio, in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Transportation, with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation – will provide freight companies and truck automation vendors an opportunity to deploy partially automated driving technology in daily operations on Interstate 70 between Columbus and Indianapolis over the next several years.

To ensure the safe deployment of these technologies on public roads, the Transportation Research enter in East Liberty, Ohio, will offer professional driver training for host fleets and perform an automation audit of I-70. This data will provide insights to ensure roadways are ready for partially automated vehicles.

During public road testing, a professional driver will be at the wheel always should human intervention be needed. The project data will be shared with U.S. DOT to inform policies and procedures to scale across the US. Industry outreach is in progress, and deployments are scheduled to begin later in 2022 and continue through 2024.

As another example, the Automated Driving Systems project in southeast Ohio – led by DriveOhio, with funding from the U.S. DOT – will demonstrate how connected and automated trucks and passenger vehicles could improve safety for the movement of people and goods in rural settings.

Teaming with TRC, Bosch and a host fleet partner, DriveOhio will test partial, SAE Level 2 truck automation technology, including “platoons” where two tractor-trailers travel closely together. Trucks with SAE Level 2 automation can control both steering and acceleration, but a driver sits in the tractor seat and can take control at any time.

Data will be collected as the automated trucks operate on rural highways in various weather conditions. Demonstration findings will help define technology needs and limitations and will inform the safe scaling of future vehicle automation deployments in the U.S.

Smart logistics innovation in Ohio is not limited to the ground. Through the FlyOhio initiative, we’re collaborating with “advanced-air mobility” innovators across industry, government, research and education to develop the next generation of package delivery solutions in the air.

According to an economic impact analysis funded by ODOT, the State of Ohio can expect more than $13 billion in economic activity over the next 25 years if it takes targeted steps now to support the growth of the AAM sector.

To help kick-start this growth, we recently hosted the first statewide FlyOhio Vertiport Innovation challenge, in collaboration with the Cincinnati Innovation District. More than 50 students from six different colleges and universities across Ohio joined this challenge, with support from more than 30 AAM employers and stakeholder organizations. Ideas ranged from healthcare applications to package deliveries, across all corners of the state. The FlyOhio team also is collaborating with the Ohio STEM Learning Network on the #STEMbuildsOhio K-12 Design Challenge. We’ll continue working with students from Pre-K to Ph.D.s to refine and implement their ideas in 2022.

While we can’t solve today’s supply chain challenges overnight, the teams at DriveOhio and FlyOhio are working with our partners every day to ensure that our state’s economy is ready for the future of smart mobility.

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