WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Automated vehicle technology is revolutionizing the transportation industry, including the way that goods move, and people travel.

Drivers could soon see automated vehicles on rural roadways in central and southeast Ohio thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This is funded in part by a s $7,500,000 grant ODOT received.

The DriveOhio’s Rural Automated Driving Systems or ADS project will begin with two deployments.

The first deployment will test three passenger vehicles equipped with innovative technology.

And the second test includes what is called truck platooning-that is when two trucks are connected to each other so one truck can mirror what the other truck is doing.

Both tests will gather data that will help define future technology needs.

ODOT officials say most automated driving systems have been tested in urban areas, but there’s still a lot to learn about how automated vehicles operate in rural areas.

A lot of automated vehicle techology has been tested in urban settings. That means we haven’t seen it performed on roads that are hilly and steep and tree covered, and don’t have connectivity. It’s important that we test, as most of our counties, really most of Ohio, is rural in nature and it’s also an incredible safety concern because more than half of our fatalities occur on rural roadways.

Preeti Choudhary, DriveOhio, ODOT

Choudhary says the testing doesn’t include driverless vehicles at this time.

The project will focus on 32 counties in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region.

This kind of testing is the most comprehensive effort to ever be conducted on rural roads in the United States.