The Virginia Port Authority has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to develop a proof of concept using an autonomous truck to access terminals and deliver and receive containers.
“This grant will help drive our initiative to establish the building blocks to make The Port of Virginia the first terminal in North America that is prepared to service the next generation of high-technology, over-the-road trucks,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The extensive technology already integrated into our terminals uniquely qualifies us [Virginia] to take a leadership role that will shape the vision of how marine terminals will handle the exchange of containers between semi-automated terminal equipment and intelligent over-the-road vehicles. This industry is evolving and our goal to be at the forefront of change and innovation to help us deliver efficiency, customer service and sustainability.”
Comprised of six terminals, the Port is served by CSX and Norfolk Southern, along with short lines Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line and Commonwealth Railway, via on-dock intermodal container transfer facilities at Virginia International Gateway and Norfolk International Terminals.
The Port’s Autonomous Truck Ready project is one of 10 recently awarded grants under the FHWA’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program. The agency is distributing $49.6 million to those projects, which will use advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies to reduce congestion or operate with connected and automated vehicle technologies.
ATCMTD was established under the Fast (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act. State departments of transportation, local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations and other eligible entities are able to apply for funding.