A Ford Argo AI test vehicle being tested in downtown Detroit. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced nearly $60 million in federal grants to 8 automated driving projects in 7 states.

Why it matters: The projects will help communities gather significant safety data that will be shared with the agency to help shape future regulations on self-driving cars.

"The Department is awarding $60 million in grant funding to test the safe integration of automated vehicles into America's transportation system while ensuring that legitimate concerns about safety, security, and privacy are addressed."
— Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

The funding program attracted more than 70 applicants, including cities, states and local transit authorities, universities and research centers.

Of note:

  • 3 projects, in Texas, Iowa and Ohio, will focus on rural applications of automated driving.
  • Virginia Tech received two grants, totaling $15 million.

Read the list of recipients here.

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U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.