RIDOT seeks proposals for self-driving cars, other next-gen transportation

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, photo, a group of self-driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. On Monday, March 27, 2017, Uber said it is resuming its self-driving car program in Arizona and Pittsburgh after it was suspended following a crash over the weekend. The company had also grounded self-driving cars in San Francisco over the weekend but they resumed operating earlier on Monday. The company said that it paused the operations over the weekend to better understand what happened in Arizona, but feels confident in returning the cars to the road. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Got an idea for autonomous vehicles? RIDOT wants to hear from you.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said Thursday it’s issued a “request for information” to companies that have expertise in transport technology, including “connected and autonomous vehicles” (CAV). The agency wants to figure out how self-driving cars can go to work for state government interests.

Putting out the call with that official request starts the ball rolling, said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, to identify what kind of challenges there are in creating the next generation of transportation systems. Companies can submit proposals for simple transporters, as well as for programs like inter-suburb transportation or on-demand ride-sharing.

Proposals, ahead of a proof-of-concept pilot service or carrier, are due to RIDOT July 12. After receiving submissions, participants will be brought in for an “Expo” to share ideas and plan.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a RIDOT statement that Rhode Island has long embraced emerging technologies — and “by embracing innovation in transportation, we are positioning Rhode Island to be a leader — and we will create jobs.”