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Blog Editor’s Note: The author is RNT Foundation President Dana A. Goward.

USDOT seeks university to help secure automated navigation

March 31, 2020  – By 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced competitive grant solicitation for a new University Transportation Center (UTC)  specifically on Highly Automated Transportation Research.

“People will not be comfortable getting into an automated vehicle or with platooning driverless trucks heading down the highway if they think… their GPS might be spoofed,” according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation at a recent presentation. She believes getting robust and resilient navigation right is a pre-requisite for success with automated and autonomous systems.

As part of this effort, her office is looking for a U.S. non-profit institution of higher learning to become a University Transportation Center (UTC) focusing on “Highly Automated Transportation Research.”  A critical component of this new center’s efforts will be work on resilient Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services. From the abstract:

“Progress on the path toward integrating automated systems into the transportation domain for all modes of transportation (surface, aviation, and maritime) will be aided by additional research addressing challenges associated with ensuring resilient Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services to support automated systems. This University Transportation Center will complement the new Center of Excellence for Highly Automated Transportation Systems being implemented within the US DOT. Among the critical needs is research to support securing cyber resilient PNT receivers for use in automated systems. This UTC will carry out research to support the development of standards and or prototypes and incorporate existing U.S. Government guidance.“

The department is also looking for UTCs for Communications Technology and E-Commerce Effects on Travel Demand; Implications of Accessible Automated Vehicles and Mobility Services for People with Disabilities; and Strategic Implications of Changing Public Transportation Travel Trends.

According to a press release issued yesterday, one institution will be selected in each of the four areas. The total initial funding available to is just shy of $5M.

Interested parties can find the opportunity at and can call Ms. Nancy Wilochka at (202) 366-5128.