ADS Transit shuttle bus on gravel road

Automated Driving Systems (ADS) for Rural America

ADS for Rural America is a project that is testing the use of automated driving technologies on rural roadways to examine and understand the unique needs of rural environments, while working toward solutions that improve safety and mobility.

Goals

1. Improve safety on our nation’s roadways with the integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS). ADS technologies show promise of greater safety on our roadways by preventing crashes.

2. Represent rural roadways in AV research. Rural roads present unique challenges:

  • Sharp curves and grades
  • Limited sight distances
  • Gravel, unpaved roads without lane markings
  • Slow-moving vehicles on the road, such as farm equipment
  • Animals on the road
  • Extreme weather conditions

Due to the complexity of rural environments, most AV testing and mapping has been focused on urban, clearly‐marked roads. We're doing rural testing for rural solutions.

3. Broaden mobility: Show how automated vehicles can provide transportation options for those not able to drive, such as aging populations and those with disabilities. We aim to connect those people in rural areas to the services they need. Since public transportation is often scarce or non-existent in rural areas, mobility means independence and can significantly improve quality of life.

While 19% of Americans live in rural areas, nearly 50% of traffic fatalities occur on rural roads.

Video overview

News

Webinar 2 screenshot

Recording of Webinar 2: Vehicle Hardware and Software now available

The recording is now available for webinar about our vehicle, including details on the installed hardware and integrated software system, along with some lessons learned and advice for others embarking on similar projects.
ADS for Rural America Shuttle Bus on Rural Road

On the Rural Road to Autonomy

Automated Driving System program looks to raise the bar for self-driving in the country.
The inner workings of an autonomous vehicle.

The brain powering the autonomous engine

This GPS World article examines the science behind autonomy and positioning systems developed by Hexagon | AutonomouStuff and outfitted on our ADS for Rural America Ford Transit.

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ADS for Rural America

This $7 million project is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and is spearheaded by researchers at the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa.