Energy Department awards $18 million for automated vehicle development

Energy Department awards $18 million for automated vehicle development
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The Department of Energy has awarded $18 million in funding to four automotive projects it says will advance the White House’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The funds will be awarded as part of phase II of Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles, a program launched in 2016 by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The program works to develop Connected and Automated Vehicle technology, with its first phase emphasizing the development of such technology for all vehicle classes.

The second phase will emphasize light-duty passenger vehicles and target a 30 percent overall cut in energy usage. Such vehicles comprise nearly 60 percent of all vehicles’ energy consumption, according to the department.

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Award recipients include the University of California, Berkeley, which will receive $3.75 million; Michigan Technological University, which will receive $4.5 million; Ohio State University, which will receive $4.93 million; and Southwest Research Institute, which will be awarded $5.25 million.

“The same nifty features that are making cars easier to drive can also make them way more efficient, use less gas, and save drivers money at the pump,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmFederal watchdog calls on Congress, Energy Dept. to overhaul nuclear waste storage process Energy Department's loan program helped Tesla; now it needs to help low-income communities Biden administration launches new effort to help communities with energy transition MORE said in a statement. “These technologies are a win-win for drivers, and they’re also going to lead to more jobs, a cleaner transportation sector, and rapid progress towards our carbon-free future.”

“Michigan workers, manufacturers and universities are the best in the world and continue to lead the development of next generation vehicles,” Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDemocrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (D-Mich.) said in a statement. “Michigan Tech is one of those institutions leading the way in creating longer range electric and autonomous vehicles, improving safety and making our cars more energy efficient. This investment will ensure Michigan remains a global leader.”

The announcement is the latest of several initiatives by the department providing grants and loans to renewable energy development. Last week, Granholm announced the Energy Department will resume a loan program that included a $465 million loan to Tesla.