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Automated Driving System Demonstration Grants

U.S. DOT announces the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Automated Driving System (ADS) Demonstration Grants (Press Release). Up to $60,000,000 in Federal funding to provide grants to eligible entities to fund demonstration projects that test the safe integration of automated driving systems into the Nation’s on-road transportation system. These grants aim to gather significant safety data to inform rulemaking, foster collaboration amongst state and local government and private partners, and test the safe integration of ADS on our nation’s roads. Grant applications are due on March 21, 2019 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time through www.Grants.gov. Awardees will be announced in Spring 2019.

Goals of the ADS Demonstration grants:

  • Safety: Test the safe integration of ADS into the nation’s on-road transportation system.
  • Data for Safety Analysis and Rulemaking: Ensure significant data gathering and sharing of project data with USDOT and the public throughout the project in near real time.
  • Collaboration: Work with innovative State and local governments and private partners to create collaborative environments that harness the collective expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge of multiple stakeholders

View the NOFO at this LINK.

U.S. DOT conducted an Informational Webinar on the ADS Demonstration Grants Program on January 24, 2019. Content presented during the webinar are provided below.

Questions for U.S. DOT on ADS Demonstration Grants should be submitted via ADSDemoGrants@dot.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Question 1: Will the USDOT require that selected entities sign a specific data sharing agreement? Our experience with AV vendors is that they are hesitant to share certain data.
    • Answer: USDOT will require data sharing agreement with the grantees, specific to the proposed demonstration.
  • Question 2: Information sharing to the public is a must, what about the demonstrating technology related IP?
    • Answer: USDOT is not seeking any IP. USDOT is seeking demonstration performance data.
  • Question 3: Is there a list or set of examples that you can provide to clarify what data points are being required? (e.g. operational/vehicle/ecosystem can include data about the internal temperature of the cabin or the engine efficiency or what’s being displayed on the interactive screen, though none of that may be pertinent to the project in establishing safety/rulemaking, whereas data regarding conflicts detected and avoidance maneuvers engaged would be essential) Also, is the data component an item that USDOT would be open to working out after awarding of the contract or are you looking for clear/defined commitment to a large amount of data, to be determined as relevant or not post-project?
    • Answer: As stated in the program goals, USDOT is seeking ADS demonstration/operational data for safety analysis and rulemaking for the purposes of the ADS grants NOFO and to meet its objectives. USDOT does not have a priority list of data points. Applicants are encouraged to propose data as its relates to ADS demonstration/operational data for safety analysis and rulemaking. A commitment to provide data, in the form of a data sharing agreement, will be required prior to award and be based on what is proposed in the draft Data Management Plan. Post-award, more specific details on the data to be provided, including specific data elements, may be worked out in future updates to the Data Management Plan. 
  • Question 4: How do you expect applicants to address the Economic Vitality, Buy American or domestic vehicle preference requirements in the NOFO?
    • Answer: Executive Order (E.O) 13788 was issued by President Trump on April 18, 2017.  The E.O. outlines the Executive Branch’s policy to buy American and hire American in order to: 1) promote economic and national security and to help stimulate growth, 2) create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the U.S., and 3) to support the U.S. industrial base.  The E.O. specifically orders agencies to enforce Buy American Laws minimizing the use of waivers, consistent with applicable laws. We are asking applicants to outline how they plan to carry out or comply with federal assistance requirements, as well as the core principles of the E.O. or address the reasons they will not be able to comply with them or will need to apply for waivers and exemptions.
  • Question 5: Is there any specific documentation to be submitted to prove safety compliance for public demonstrations?
    • Answer: Given the focus on demonstrations, fund projects that include technologies that are, at a minimum, in limited prototype state suitable to support safe demonstrations but do not need to be ready for broader deployment. Demonstrations must meet all applicable safety standards [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and/or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)] or have a detailed approach concerning how the grantee intends to apply for any necessary exemptions.
  • Question 6: Could you confirm if there will be any prioritization in this grant to the currently designated AV Proving Grounds (http://www.nationalavpg.com/)?
    • Answer: As stated in the PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION: Automated Vehicle 3.0 (Pages ix & 17), “Department no longer recognizes the designations of ten “Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds” as announced on January 19, 2017.”  The Department will not be prioritizing these AV proving grounds in this grant.
  • Question 7: When designing for travelers with disabilities, which disability type needs to be considered?
    • Answer: USDOT likes to see solutions that benefit the broader set of users and would include the most disability types such as vision, mobility, hearing and cognitive. Proposed solutions could include, but are not limited to: easy to use securement and restraint systems, ability to communicate in multiple accessible communication formats (visual, audible, haptic) and intuitive, simple and clutter free human machine interfaces for built and pedestrian environments. Consider the universal design approach where the solutions so designed for one user type will benefit most travelers with disabilities and the public.
  • Question 8: Paratransit is used by many people with disabilities, can the ADS grants be for paratransit user?
    • Answer: USDOT likes to receive innovate proposal that meet the goals and objectives of the NOFO. We are unable to provide individualized guidance about preliminary proposed ideas. Recommend your organization review the NOFO and make those business decisions accordingly. USDOT will evaluate timely applications submitted from eligible organizations in accordance with the procedures in the NOFO.
  • Question 9: You say that DOT will protect data, release of which would cause “substantial competitive harm.”  What is “substantial competitive harm”?
    • Answer: “Substantial competitive harm” must be established on a fact-specific basis.  You, as the submitter of the information, will be responsible for explaining why you believe that the disclosure of your information would cause “substantial competitive harm.”  In general, it is information that a competitor can use to recreate a product, or to avoid costs of buying or developing the information, leading to an improvement to that competitor’s position relative to the submitter of the information.
  • Question 10:  How does the Federal FOIA affect state and local disclosure laws?
    • Answer: FOIA has no effect on local sunshine laws, in the absence of a reference to the Federal law.  The fact that DOT might withhold information does not preclude a locality from releasing the information in its possession. Conversely, if a local government released the information pursuant to a records request, DOT would no longer treat the information as confidential and subject to withholding.
  • Question 11:  How should grant recipients mark and submit confidential information?
    • Answer: DOT expects to establish a process for segregating or marking confidential data and transferring it to DOT prior to award of any grants.
  • Question 12: What is the address where the webinar recording and presentation can be accessed?
  • Question 13: What is the maximum amount per grant award and maximum amount of combined grant awards per state?
    • Answer: USDOT intends to award no more than $10M in Federal funds for a single grant award; and no more than $15M total in Federal funds for the collective amount of grant awards within a single state.
  • Question 14: Can a state agency submit more than 1 application?
    • Answer: Yes
  • Question 15: Will this be limited to automobiles, or can other ADS systems in the right of way apply?
    • Answer: USDOT is interested in receiving innovative proposals that meet the goals and objective of the ADS demonstration grants NOFO. You are encouraged to submit a proposal on other ADS approaches, as long as it meets the goals and objectives of the NOFO.
  • Question 16: May a private company participate in multiple proposals? (As sub-contractors/sub-recipients)
    • Answer: Yes
  • Question 17: May national laboratories apply?
    • Answer: Federal agencies and national laboratories / DOE FFRDCs are not eligible to apply as prime applicant, but are eligible as sub-recipients/subcontractors.
  • Question 18: Can non-profit organizations apply?
    • Answer: The NOFO’s stated eligibility criteria apply to this grant competition. Only public organizations are eligible as prime grantees. Private organizations, whether they be for-profit or non-profit, are not eligible as prime grantees, but can participate as team members, subawardees, subcontractors, or team members to an eligible prime grantee. Private non-profits, private companies, and private universities are not eligible to be the prime awardee.
  • Question 19: Is it required to identify sub-contractors prior to award, or can a DOT follow a public bid process?
    • Answer: Applicants do not have to identify all sub-contractors prior to award. If it’s not known who the sub-contractor will be, cite the vendor as TBD, describe the scope of work planned to be subcontracted, and an estimated value in the budget for that vendor TBD. A competitive procurement can occur after award.
  • Question 20: Are there any possibilities for using this funding for connected infrastructure such as connected traffic lights?
    • Answer: You are strictly using these funds for automated driving systems. If part of the demonstration is to show connected infrastructure, that is acceptable. But primarily Applicants should focus on automated driving system demonstrations.
  • Question 21: Does the proposal need to meet all 7 focus areas or 1 of 7?
    • Answer: Per the NOFO Evaluation Criteria, USDOT will evaluate the degree of alignment of the proposed demonstration with all goals, all focus areas and all requirements in the NOFO. Applicants should document and explain alignment with all items to the extent possible. The NOFO does not delineate a minimum number of goals, focus areas, or requirements, but rather refers to those items in their entirety.
  • Question 22: Can you please explain how this requirement applies to fixed route bus transit: "Each demonstration must include input/output user interfaces on the ADS and related applications that are accessible and allow users with varied abilities to input a new destination or communicate route information to access information generated by the ADS." It appears to apply to other modes.
    • Answer: ADS Demonstrations may be either fixed route or variable route. Irrespective of fixed or variable route, user interfaces must be accessible and allow users with varied abilities to input a request or be able to interact with the ADS or ADS related applications just as any other user can.
  • Question 23: How often will this funding opportunity become available, will there be annual funding cycles?
    • Answer: This NOFO is not intended to be issued annually. Rather, this is a one-time initiative.
  • Question 24: Can ADS be used on rail? If no, can ADS be used at intersections with rail crossings where some of the investment is communication between road and rail vehicles and related operations?
    • Answer: The Department seeks to fund a collection of projects that demonstrate automation, with preference for demonstrating L3 or greater on-road automation technologies.
  • Question 25: "USDOT will use the info received to determine where controlled-access data will be managed." Does this mean that a team proposing its own system may be denied, and required to use the USDOT's? Then should both approaches be budgeted?
    • Answer: Applicants should propose to use their own system OR use the USDOT’s system, not both. USDOT provided on the website cost estimate information, so you can estimate the cost or either approach. As needed prior to award, the USDOT reserves the right to discuss and negotiate details of applications, including the proposed data access approach.
  • Question 26: Can a federal agency be a prime applicant?
    • Answer: Federal agencies are not eligible to apply as prime applicant, but are eligible as sub-recipients/subcontractors.
  • Question 27: Will USDOT be entertaining an extension to the grant submission deadline?
    • Answer: An extension to the due date for applications is not planned.
  • Question 28: If the USDOT secure data system is used, does this need to be included in the budget?
    • Answer: Applicants should propose to use their own system OR use the USDOT’s system, not both. USDOT provided on the website cost estimate information, so you can estimate the cost or either approach. As needed prior to award, the USDOT reserves the right to discuss and negotiate details of applications, including the proposed data access approach.
  • Question 29: Can one state university collaborate with private company from another state?
    • Answer: Yes. The prime applicant must be a public organization, a public university, or one of public organizations identified in the NOFO eligibility clause. A private company can be a part of the team as a subcontractor or team member but cannot be the prime applicant. There is no requirement that all organizations be from the same State.
  • Question 30: Is there a nonfederal match required?
    • Answer: Cost sharing or matching is not required but is encouraged and will be considered in the award selection process. If proposed, the Government will evaluate cost share as part of the budget review. The degree of cost share will be considered beneficial to the extent the cost share is considered feasible and demonstrates a furtherance of the goals of the ADS Demonstration program. The degree of cost share and leveraging of non-federal funds will be considered in the award decision. Cost sharing will be considered beneficial to break ties among applications with equivalent ratings after evaluation against all other factors.
  • Question 31: Is there a limit on the number of PIs on the application?
    • Answer: No.
  • Question 32: Will we get access to a list of everyone who provided contact info?
  • Question 33: In evaluating submissions will USDOT consider geographic diversity among grant recipients, including the need for a balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural areas?
    • Answer: Per NOFO page 33, the Secretary of Transportation will include in the selection process the following objective: The USDOT intends to fund a collection of projects that serve a variety of communities, including urban, suburban, and rural environments, and that serve a variety of transportation markets including freight, personal mobility, and public transportation.
  • Question 34: Is there preference for use cases/locations, whether it's for urban or rural?
    • Answer: No preference.
  • Question 35: Can part-1 have appendices, or will appendices count against the page limit?
    • Answer: Appendices would count against the page limit.
  • Question 36: Are there any minimum cost share requirements?
    • Answer: No. Cost sharing or matching is not required but is encouraged and will be considered in the award selection process. If proposed, the Government will evaluate cost share as part of the budget review. The degree of cost share will be considered beneficial to the extent the cost share is considered feasible and demonstrates a furtherance of the goals of the ADS Demonstration program. The degree of cost share and leveraging of non-federal funds will be considered in the award decision. Cost sharing will be considered beneficial to break ties among applications with equivalent ratings after evaluation against all other factors.
  • Question 37: Is there a preference for expansion of existing programs vs. entirely new programs?
    • Answer: No preference.
  • Question 38: An extension to the submission deadline will allow for better partnerships to be created and more meaningful projects submitted. Would USDOT consider an extension to the submission deadline?
    • Answer: An extension to the due date for applications is not planned.
  • Question 39: Is there any weighting allocated to the valuation criteria?
    • Answer: USDOT will evaluate applications as described in Section E of the NOFO. The technical merit criteria listed in Section E are of equal importance as stated on page 31 of the NOFO.
  • Question 40: Regarding NOFO p14 Format, is it acceptable for the application text to be formatted in multiple columns (similar to magazine)?
    • Answer: Yes
  • Question 41: With non-federal cost share not required and not among the selection criteria, can you clarify if applications proposing a non-federal match would be more competitive?
    • Answer: The degree of cost share and leveraging of non-federal funds will be considered in the award decision. Cost sharing will be considered beneficial to break ties among applications with equivalent ratings after evaluation against all other factors.
  • Question 42: Can you confirm that table text is meant to be double-spaced? This may lead to some quite lengthy tables, depending on content.
    • Answer: CHANGE to NOFO Paragraph D.3. FORMAT OF APPLICATION SUBMISSION. Tables are permitted and text in tables must be doubled spaced legible to reviewers. Single spacing is acceptable.
  • Question 43: Award is per year of performance or budget only 1 year of performance or whole project?
    • Answer: The planned awards are for the project as a whole, for the entirety of the proposed period of performance, not an annual renewal/award requirement. Annual status and budget reviews may be required, but the award is intended for the whole project.
  • Question 44: How many submissions will be allowed from one lead applicant?
    • Answer: No limit.
  • Question 45: Do any applicable state legislative authorization and permits for the proposed demonstration need to be secured by the time an application for ADS funding is submitted? What are the deadlines for obligating the grant and starting the physical demonstration?
    • Answer: Page 18 of the NOFO requires Applicants to describe, “Your approach to address any legal, regulatory, environmental, and/or other obstacles to demonstrating the technology(ies), whether those obstacles be caused by Federal, State, or local requirements.” There is no requirement that authorizations or permits be secured at the time an application is submitted.
  • Question 46: If applicant uses dividers between application parts, would those count against page limit in parts 1 and 2?
    • Answer: Dividers are not needed and would count against page limits.
  • Question 47: Just to confirm, applications do not require quantitative economic justification (BCA)?
    • Answer: No.
  • Question 48: Please clarify 'near real time' -- e.g. should this be measured in milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, and/or days?
    • Answer: This means the data has been made available as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the data, the nature of the need, and any privacy protections, or processes that needs to be applied. That could be streaming so true real time. Or periodic dash uploads of a frequency that could be minutes, days, weeks or months. We need you to provide to us in your draft data management plan, to the best of your ability that type of information. This will be a collaborative process so will award to settle on what this means for individual use cases. Again, our intent is that we get the data as close as the time of generation as is appropriate for the use of the data. And any processes that need to be applied on your end to make it suitable to provide access.
  • Question 49: What are the procurement rules for this NOFO as they relate to identifying team members (vendors, consultants, subcontractors) as part of the proposal process?
    • Answer: If team members/partners such as vendors and consultants are included in your application as part of your team, competition will be deemed satisfied. Applications may be submitted in partnership with other entities that intend to participate in the implementation of the proposed project. For applications that involve a partnership with a vendor, consultant, or other third party, applicants must clearly identify the project partners by name, partnership role or scope, and budgeted subaward/subcontract amount as applicable. USDOT will evaluate the experience and capacity of the named project partners to successfully implement the proposed project based on the partners’ experience and qualifications. Applicants are advised to submit information on the partners’ qualification and experience as a part of the application. If an application that involves such a partnership is selected for funding, the NOFO competitive selection process will be deemed to satisfy the requirement for a competitive procurement under 2 CFR 200.319, Competition, for the named entities. Applicants are advised that any changes to the proposed partnership during grant performance may require prior written AO approval and may necessitate a competitive procurement. Entities involved in the project that are not named in the application will be required to be selected subject to the competition requirements of 2 CFR 200 Subpart D, Procurements Standards (2 CFR 200.317-326).
  • Question 50: Will you only fund large demonstration projects? Will you also consider smaller budget smaller scale deployments?
    • Answer: Per page 6 of the NOFO, one Focus Area is “Significant Public Benefit(s): Fund a select number of larger-scale projects that result in a significant benefit(s) to the public.”
  • Question 51: Is USDOT also interested in including educational and training activities for ADS technologies as part of the application?
    • Answer: USDOT is seeking an actual physical demonstration of automation with a preference for level III or greater. Per page 8 of the NOFO, a requirement is: “e.          Each demonstration must address how the demonstration can be scaled to be applicable across the Nation to similar types of road environments, as well as include an outreach task to share demonstration status, results, and lessons learned with other jurisdictions and the public, in furtherance of technical exchange and knowledge transfer.”
  • Question 52: What will the longer-term commitment be for the projects if approved?  Will funding be available on a cost share basis to maintain infrastructure?
    • Answer: Longer-term commitment to maintain infrastructure is not contemplated. This is intended to be a demonstration project only.
  • Question 53: Is a continuation or deployment of a technology that is previously funded by another grant eligible for this project?
    • Answer: Yes, possibly, if the proposed demonstration complies with the NOFO.
  • Question 54: Will your responses to these questions be part of the online posting of the questions?
    • Answer: USDOT has attempted to provide written responses to all questions received.
  • Question 55: How are individual projects vs system of projects differentiated? (In terms of separating applications)
    • Answer: USDOT requests that each individual grant application describes one demonstration that aligns with the program goals and focus areas stated in the NOFO.  The Secretary of Transportation intends to select a collection of grant applications that serve a variety of communities, including urban, suburban, and rural environments, and that serve a variety of transportation markets including freight, personal mobility, and public transportation. Each application should address how the proposed demonstration contributes to the Secretary’s intent to select a collection of diverse grant applications.
  • Question 56: Can you confirm that bus transit demonstrations may not need to occur on public roads or be for revenue service, but that the testing and demonstration can happen within the agency's facilities?
    • Answer: Assuming this is a prototype, this demonstration is acceptable.
  • Question 57: If it is proven public shadow driving can never reach L4 and harm to humans not necessary - replaced by aerospace/DoD/FAA simulation - is that demo acceptable?
    • Answer: The scope of the NOFO is explained in detail in Section A.  Due to the competitive nature of this grant competition, we are unable to provide individualized guidance about preliminary proposed ideas. Rather, we recommend your organization review the NOFO and make those decisions accordingly. USDOT will evaluate timely applications submitted from eligible organizations in accordance with the goals and objectives of the NOFO.
  • Question 58: How do the price justification requirements work for contractors to be identified after the award?
    • Answer: The application may include estimated amounts for vendors that are TBD. Such amounts should reflect the Applicant’s rough estimate(s) of work planned to be competed after award. No further price justification is needed in the Application.
  • Question 59: Can you help us understand how EO 13788 will be assessed? Would partnering with a foreign-owned OEM put an applicant at a disadvantage? What if the partnership was with the OEM's North American headquarters?
    • Answer: Executive Order (E.O) 13788 was issued by President Trump on April 18, 2017.  The E.O. outlines the Executive Branch’s policy to buy American and hire American in order to: 1) promote economic and national security and to help stimulate growth, 2) create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the U.S., and 3) to support the U.S. industrial base.  The E.O. specifically orders agencies to enforce Buy American Laws minimizing the use of waivers, consistent with applicable laws. We are asking applicants to outline how they plan to carry out or comply with federal assistance requirements, as well as the core principles of the E.O. or address the reasons they will not be able to comply with them or will need to apply for waivers and exemptions. USDOT will evaluate all applications using the evaluation criteria contained in the NOFO, including Economic Vitality as described on page 6, Focus Areas.  It is up to prime applicants to develop and outline their business case and partnerships in their applications. USDOT is unable to answer “what if” questions specific to an individual application.
  • Question 60: Will capital associated with demonstration be the applicants after grant funding is over?
    • Answer: The Property Standards listed in 2 CFR 200 apply to the grant with respect to ownership after the grant period.
  • Question 61: How will the $15 million cap per state be adjudicated with multistate teams?
    • Answer: A predetermined procedure has not been established as it depends upon applications received. USDOT will adhere to the intent of the guidance of $15M maximum cumulative awards per state.
  • Question 62: Some of the discussion from presenters thus far has suggested that public transportation applications would need to be demand responsive.  Is that the case?  It would seem from the NOFA that a demonstration of AV 3.0 technology for a regular fixed route bus would be eligible. Is that not the case?
    • Answer: If the demonstration aligns with the program goals and focus areas, USDOT views those applications as eligible demonstrations for this NOFO.
  • Question 63: Executive Order 13788 provides limited details regarding the Buy American requirements. Can you point to additional information that would clarify this requirement?
    • Answer: For basic information on the Buy American Act’s requirements, please review Parts 25.1 and 25.2 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which is available at www.acquisition.gov. To the extent that the requirements in the NOFO differ from the FAR, the NOFO governs.  E.g., the NOFO at page 40 adds approval requirements that are not in the FAR.  And the vehicle assembly requirements are not in the FAR.
  • Question 64: Under #6 Work Areas of the NOFO, transit agency owned roads is not listed as a demonstration work area. Could ADS work on such a road facility (solely or in combination within the work areas listed)?
    • Answer: Yes.
  • Question 65: Can you define what you mean by rural?  The new Green Book separates rural into "rural" and "rural town".  Are both of these included in the NOFO's definition?
    • Answer: USDOT is seeking projects that serve a variety of communities, including urban, suburban, and rural environments, USDOT is looking for a range of projects and for projects that could be scaled to areas that are defined across both urbanized and nonurbanized areas across the U.S.
  • Question 66: If we submit an application for a three-year project can DOT change the project timeline to a shorter period of time or stop funding midstream?
    • Answer: Applicants should propose a period of performance for their unique demonstration, estimated within 1-4 years. USDOT will evaluate an as needed discuss proposed period of performance prior to award to define a mutually agreed upon duration.
  • Question 67: Would it be acceptable to submit a “modular/menu” of projects in one application for approval?
    • Answer: Your application should be for one complete demo for one defined amount for USDOT to evaluate and consider. An application is accepted in full or rejected in full. Please note, as needed, we do reserve the right to negotiate/discuss revisions mutually agreed upon by the parties. You can submit multiple applications for different demonstrations. We prefer one application for one proposed demonstration, not multiple applications for multiple versions of the same demonstration. Also, please note the $10M amount is a max ceiling per project. Grant awards can be less than $10M, just not more. Applications need not be for $10M total but rather can be less and should be the amount needed based on your proposed unique demonstration.
  • Question 68: If a lead applicant submits for a multi-jurisdictional group, is the application allowed to have a budget beyond the $10 million project/$15 million state total? For example, if there are 3 total eligible applicants (one applicant as the lead, and then two additional eligible applicants), can the total budget reflect $30 million?
    • Answer: USDOT intends to award no more than $10M Federal funds to a single grantee; and no more than $15M total Federal funds to grantees within a single state. A multijurisdictional group would still qualify as a single grantee, and thus have a ceiling of $10M Federal funds. Separate applications may be submitted to receive separate grants, each grant subject to the $10M ceiling, and the cumulative funding to a state ceiling of $15M.
  • Question 69: Can you tell me if my idea for a demonstration will be selected?
    • Answer: The scope of the NOFO is explained in detail in Section A.  Due to the competitive nature of this grant competition, we are unable to provide individualized guidance about preliminary proposed ideas. Rather, I recommend your organization review the NOFO and make those business decisions accordingly. USDOT will evaluate timely applications submitted from eligible organizations in accordance with the procedures in the NOFO.
  • Question 70: Does this ADS demonstration NOFO allow for cost share outside the US to be utilized? Does it allow for labor outside the US to be reimbursed?
    • Answer: The NOFO references applicable grant regulation which is 2 CFR 200. 
      • The NOFO and the grant regulation do not expressly restrict or prohibit costs incurred outside the US to be used towards cost share.
      • The NOFO and the grant regulation do not expressly restrict or prohibit reimbursement of labor incurred outside the US.
      • Note: All costs incurred under both the grant Federal share and the Cost share must comply with 2 CFR 200 Subpart E “Cost Principles.” Further, cost share must comply with 2 CFR 200.306, “Cost sharing or matching.”
  • Question 71: Are applicants allowed the submit a short, project-specific video that aids in describing and illustrating the proposed project? If so, are there any particular rules or directions for uploading or sending the video file that is preferred?
    • Answer: No, applicants must submit only the items as detailed in the NOFO. Evaluation of applications will be based on those items requested in the NOFO only.
  • Question 72:  Please clarify eligible and permissible uses of funds?  The NOFO states that a physical demonstration is required, but the Statement of Purpose says “to fund planning, direct research, and demonstration grants.” Can funds be used for a planning-only project, or for operational costs only? Or is the scope only research?
    • Answer: The funding is for use on the proposed demonstration which includes planning, direct research, and the physical demonstration. Each demonstration must include a physical demonstration. Modeling and simulation may be included activities; however, a physical demonstration is required. The reference to planning and direct research are support activities for the physical demonstration. A separate planning-only grant is not the intent of the NOFO. A separate operations-only grant is not the intent of the NOFO. The grants are for research and conduct of a physical demonstration.
  • Question 73: Reading the NOFO for USDOT “Automated Driving System Demonstration Grants” I notice that only SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance) and SF-424B (Assurances – Non-Construction Programs) are required. Just to confirm that SF-424A (Budget Information – Non-Construction Programs) is not required.
    • Answer: That is correct. The budget detail requested in the Budget Application provides similar information, so we have removed SF 424A as a required form for this NOFO.
  • Question 74: Is there an estimate of how many projects you are seeking to fund? Is there a preferred size of the project (e.g. number of partners)? Is there an "ideal" structure of the project (e.g. is an OEM partner need)?
    • Answer: The answer is no to all three questions. Due to the competitive nature of this grant competition, we are unable to provide individualized guidance about preliminary proposed ideas or teams. Rather, I recommend your organization review the NOFO and make those decisions accordingly. USDOT will evaluate timely applications submitted from eligible organizations in accordance with the procedures in the NOFO. As explained in the webinar USDOT intends to award no more than $10M Federal funds to a single grantee; and no more than $15M total Federal funds to grantees within a single state.
  • Question 75: When would bus transit demonstrations have to be on public roads and/or for revenue service to be eligible for ADS funding if not using a prototype? Do the same requirements apply for ADA complementary paratransit services? What about services provided by Transportation Network Companies (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.)? 
    • Answer: Per section 5g of the NOFO, proposed application demonstrations needs to include technologies that are, at a minimum, in limited prototype state suitable to support safe demonstrations but do not need to be ready for broader deployment. Any demonstration(s) on public roads and/or for revenue service need to meet the objectives of the NOFO. The same requirements would apply for ADA complementary paratransit services.
  • Question 76: Are operating costs eligible for ADS funding, including fares and/or incentives for participants in the demonstrations?
    • Answer: Costs necessary to implement and evaluate the demonstration are allowable subject to the Cost Principles in the grant regulation at 2 CFR 200. Reasonable participant/subject costs are allowable (such as your example of fares and/or incentives for participants in the demonstrations).
  • Question 77: Is 693JJ319NF00001 subject to E.O. 12372?
    • Answer: No, this NOFO is not subject to EO 12372.
  • Question 78: In regards to the cost share, would the value of non-tangible services-provided at no cost to the grant (e.g. project management technical advice, planning services, legal counsel) or would tangible services-provided at no cost (e.g. equipment, research deliverables) be considered as a cost share component, or are you looking strictly for a monetary amount?
    • Answer: Yes, cost share can be in-kind services/supplies/equipment provided at no cost for the project performance. Per grant regulation at 2 CFR 200.29, Cost sharing or matching means the portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds. See also 2 CFR 200.306 Cost sharing or matching, which says in part:  Proposed shared costs or matching funds and contributions, including cash and third party in-kind contributions, will be accepted by the Government as part of the grantee’s cost sharing or matching when such contributions:
      • are verifiable from the non-Federal entity's records;
      • are not included as contributions for any other Federal award;
      • are necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives;
      • are allowable under 2 CFR 200 Subpart E—Cost Principles;
      • are not paid by the Federal Government under another Federal award; and
      • are provided for in the approved budget.
  • Question 79: In regards to how the funds may be used, is it acceptable to cover the cost of personnel managing the project, cover the cost of technical advisors, or other non-technology costs?
    • Answer: Costs necessary to accomplish the project are allowable subject to the Cost Principles in the grant regulation at 2 CFR 200. Yes, Federal funds may be used to cover the cost of personnel managing the project, cost of technical advisors, and other non-technology costs. 
  • Question 80: We are a public university but not based in the US. Are we eligible?
    • Answer: No, a non-US public university is not eligible to be a prime grantee. Your organization could be a subcontractor or subawardee part of a team, but not be the prime awardee.
  • Question 81: One of the goals is “Data for Safety Analysis and Rulemaking”, is the rulemaking component referring to: Policy/regulations in regards to ADS integration with other modes including peds/bikes? (urban planning aspect); System coding /ADS operation limitations that define the rules of how an autonomous vehicle performs such as minimum sensing requirements or specific decision trees? (computer engineering and electrical engineering aspect; Infrastructure/amenity design rules such as defining the width/slope of an ADS path or the design of an ADS path intersection? (civil engineering aspect); Or something else?
    • Answer: The referenced rulemaking may refer to any aspect of ADS and is not defined further at this point.
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2019
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