The U.S. Department of Transportation named the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) one of the first recipients of funding under the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. The federal program provides resources to state, local, and tribal governments to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced “vehicle to everything”” technology, smart city or community technologies and systems to improve transportation efficiency and safety.

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The ACA received a total of $1,747,708, which will fund planning and prototyping activities to digitize Arizona roadways for “vehicle to everything” (V2X) technology. V2X technology allows vehicles to share and receive information to improve safety, traffic conditions, reaction time, and more. Arizona’s application was one of 59 selected for funding out of nearly 400.

“We’re very excited to receive this funding to further the important work of IAM alongside our state partners,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “My thanks to the Department of Transportation, Senators Sinema and Kelly, and all our local and federal partners for advancing this important work with us.”

Vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X) is communication between a vehicle and any entity that may affect, or may be affected by, the vehicle. It is a vehicular communication system that incorporates other more specific types of communication as V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure), V2N (vehicle-to-network), V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian), V2D (vehicle-to-device).

Over the next two years, the grant recipient team, which includes UArizona, ASU, Verizon, the Arizona Department of Transportation, Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Maricopa County Association of Governments, Valley Metro, and Chicanos Por La Causa, will deploy funds to solve real world challenges in Arizona. The team’s efforts will include leveraging connected vehicle innovation to improve safety, fostering a mobility innovation hub, and developing a talent pipeline.

The Institute of Automated Mobility focuses on the translation of use-inspired research into economic development by advancing collaborative projects, resulting in new startups and mobility breakthroughs for companies. In 2021, members of the IAM team were awarded the Trevor O. Jones Outstanding Paper Award for their pioneering work on automated vehicle safety metrics. The prestigious award recognizes research that provides technically new and innovative contributions to the existing knowledge of transportation electronics.