Ohio's 33 Smart Mobility Corridor to study use of UAS to monitor traffic and roadway conditions

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Ohio’s 33 Smart Mobility Corridor has announced plans to study the use of UAS to monitor traffic and roadway conditions from the air along the corridor.

The three-year study, which is scheduled to start on July 1, is a partnership between DriveOhio’s UAS Center and the Ohio State University College of Engineering.

“At DriveOhio, we are looking for innovative ways to integrate technology into our transportation systems,” says Jim Barna, Executive Director of DriveOhio.

“This project will help us explore the intersection between autonomous and connected vehicles on land and in the air. The goal is to understand how we can better manage traffic, roadway incidents, and roadway conditions using advanced technology and data analysis.”

The research, which will include both air and ground vehicles, will complement ongoing work to test autonomous and connected vehicles along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, which is a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 between Dublin and East Liberty, Ohio.

In conjunction with Ohio’s current fixed-location traffic camera system, UAS will monitor traffic and incident response along the corridor. The UAS will interact with sensors and communication equipment along the corridor to feed data into the state’s Traffic Management Center.

Sensors and communication devices will also be used during the project to make sure that the UAS don’t collide with each other, or with manned aircraft—like small planes and helicopters—that also occupy lower altitude airspace.

“One of the keys to better utilizing unmanned aircraft is to ensure they will not pose a threat to other aircraft traveling in the area,” says Fred Judson, Director of DriveOhio’s UAS Center.

“This research project will make the development of that safety system a priority so that other aircraft operations such as package delivery and air taxi services can be explored down the road.”

DriveOhio will lead the project team, along with the Ohio State University’s College of Engineering in conjunction with Cal Analytics, Gannett Fleming, AiRXOS (a GE venture), Gryphon Sensors, Transportation Research Center, Inc., Woolpert, the Ohio State University Airport, and Midwest Air Traffic Control.

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