New DriveOhio Director Shares Cutting-Edge Vision for Ohio Smart Mobility

By Breanna Badanes

In a recent interview with The Beta District team, new DriveOhio Executive Director Preeti Choudhary shared exciting details about their groundbreaking smart mobility initiatives that are positioning Ohio as a global pioneer. Fueled by her dynamic background in engineering and communications, Choudhary passionately explains her next-level aspirations for Ohio’s leadership in connected, automated, and electric vehicles, on the ground and in the air.

The DriveOhio Mission

DriveOhio is the state’s center for smart mobility, responsible for advancing autonomous and connected vehicles, electric vehicles, and advanced air mobility. The agency leverages Ohio’s unique access to partner organizations, a highly technical workforce, and unparalleled resources for mobility research and development.

Why is Ohio such a leader in smart mobility? What makes Ohio unique?

Ohio’s leadership knows that addressing transportation safety and accessibility issues will require an ecosystem of solutions. We are dedicated to advancing not one or another technology. Rather, we create pathways for a wide range of smart mobility innovations both on the ground and in the air by connecting state and national government leaders, research and academic institutions, military, world-class testing facilities, and industry. .

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his administration are also engaged and eager to help. Unwavering support from our state’s top leadership is what makes Ohio the premiere location to test and deploy this technology. In Ohio, we understand that a state willing to invest in the research and infrastructure needed to take part in this transformation will see those investments rewarded with jobs, new businesses, and economic growth.

What are your marquee projects, and how will they advance the smart mobility industry?

Our Rural Automated Driving Systems project will demonstrate how connected and automated trucks and passenger vehicles could improve safety in rural settings. We will test passenger vehicles operating in Athens and Vinton counties and semi-truck trailer deliveries throughout Southeast Ohio to see how these vehicles navigate roads with no pavement markings; and in straight, hilly, and tree-covered terrain. The data collected and shared will be key to the safe integration of ADS technologies across the U.S., particularly in rural areas.

The I-70 Truck Automation project is a partnership between Ohio and Indiana to deploy smart logistics solutions between Columbus and Indianapolis. We will test platooning technology in trucks on the interstate with the goal of delivering products more efficiently with less fuel and environmental impact.

Located along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor in The Beta District, Connected Marysville is the first fully connected city in the U.S. with all 32 traffic signals able to communicate with vehicles’ on-board units. Through broadband and roadside units, drivers can receive traffic signal information, pedestrian crossing alerts, and railroad crossing warnings creating safer travel for all.

What’s your vision for DriveOhio? What will DriveOhio’s focus be for 2023?

“I envision a continuation of DriveOhio’s mission to advance smart mobility to increase safety, expand equitable access, and prepare and retain a robust workforce.

Over the next year, a lot of our focus will go into building electric vehicle infrastructure and implementing Ohio’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) plan. This will maximize Ohio’s share of the funding provided by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Additionally, we expect to continue making great strides in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) to capitalize on our participation in NASA’s AAM initiatives and our recently released statewide strategy for AAM in Ohio.