CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The future is here in Ohio and all you have to do is look to the sky.
Drones and other autonomous aircraft could become a part of our daily life.
Advocates say being the test ground could supercharge our economy.
We have an in-depth look at what this new technology could mean for our state.
The future of transportation may not be the first thing you think about when you drive down I-71.
But an initiative called DriveOhio, supported by O-DOT, has that vision.
It’s a state start-up that wants to make I-71, which is already a connector between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, an “air corridor.”
One day you could see drones, air taxis, medevacs and other autonomous cargo aircraft over the highway.
Ohio could be on the leading edge of hosting this technology.
“It’s all about opening that zero to 10,000 feet to deliver. Right, that’s what everyone’s focused on in this area of the air space,” said Luke Stedke with DriveOhio.
He said Ohio is the perfect test ground.
“There’s a history of innovation on the ground and in the air in the state of Ohio. When we look at the air side specifically, we’ve got NASA Glenn, we’ve got the Airforce Research Laboratory, we’ve got Wright Patterson Air Force Base,” Stedke said.
Using this new technology for transportation could be good for our economy, creating more jobs down the road.
DriveOhio just started a six month study to estimate the economic impact and the infrastructure the state has in place for it.
“When you get right down to it, we are talking about improving the lives of Ohio citizens. Making their travel safer, more efficient, and making sure that the economic development that goes with all of these systems happens here in the state of Ohio,” Stedke said.
The I-71 corridor would be part of the pilot project.
If it gets the green light, it could later expand across the state, connecting towns and cities and eventually other states.
“The upside is huge, and there are lots of opportunities now and into the future,” he said. Federal funding could help with this project.
It’s also a partnership between the state, tech providers and private companies.
DriveOhio is waiting for the study’s results to see what projects could be approved.