Kasich wants Ohio to invest in self-driving cars
COLUMBUS (WSYX/WTTE) —
Governor John Kasich wants to double down on self-driving cars with a multi-million dollar investment in his proposed budget.
State officials want carmakers to develop self-driving technology at a facility at Ohio State. The Transportation Research Center (TRC) has 4500 acres for automotive engineers to try out their best ideas.
Kasich's budget chips in $12.5 million to add 500 acres to the TRC for self-driving cars. Ohio State, ODOT and JobsOhio will all pitch in for a total of $45 million.
"You need to always anticipate the future," Kasich said. "We're certainly not going to ignore public safety. It's critical to us but at the same time, the speed of business matters in the 21st century."
Two months ago, Kasich announced ODOT would be testing self-driving trucks along US-33 between Dublin and Marysville.
"We are well-positioned to be at the epicenter of this new transformation in what's going to happen in the future in mobility and access, what I call moving people and goods from one place to another," said Jerry Wray with ODOT.
Auto engineers said self-driving cars are close to reality on public roads. State officials said they want the key breakthroughs to be made in Ohio.
"It's huge," said Mark-Tami Hotta, the president of the TRC. "It's the largest single expansion in TRC's history and it's also aligned with probably the biggest change in the auto industry in our lifetime, self-driving vehicles."
Part of Kasich's budget includes money for fiber optic lines and wifi along I-270 to Rickenbacher Airport.
The budget also would allow ODOT to change the speed limit on I-670 to ease congestion during Rush Hour or bad weather.