On Friday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, announced a $2,574,300 grant for the University of Michigan’s research on automated cars. The grant, funded by the United States Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers, will be dedicated to the University’s Centers for Connected and Automated Transportation.

As co-chair of the U.S. House of Representatives House Smart Transportation Caucus, Dingell said the University’s advancement in automation makes it a preferred grant recipient to encourage the development of new technologies.

“University of Michigan is leading the way in the research and development of new technologies …” Dingell said in the press release. “This grant will give U-M new tools to address the critical transportation challenges facing our nation by promoting connected and autonomous technology research and education.”

The University’s Center for Connected and Automated Transportation researches transportation safety and congestion management. The CCAT examines connections between cars, infrastructure and driverless vehicles. The University is an optimal location for this type of research, given the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment is an institution dedicated to transportation research. The University program Mcity, a project working to test automated vehicles, also contributes to this research.

CCAT Director Henry Liu said the program hopes to develop self-driving vehicles that communicate with one another, but still face obstacles regarding technological advancements.

“Researchers at the University of Michigan are working together to help transform the future of mobility …” Liu said in the press release. “(T)here are a number of issues surrounding technology development, policy and planning, and system design and operations that require answers and resolution.”

He described CCAT as a leader in the field of developing the future of transportation. The release discussed potential research topics as analyzing traffic flow, infrastructure and security with regards to the relationship between regular cars and self-driving ones.

The UTC grants up to 35 of these five-year grants and has given others to institutions such as Purdue University and University of Akron.

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