Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Connected and Automated Vehicles

Projects

MnDOT is researching and piloting connected and automated vehicle technology that will help the agency prepare for the future transportation needs in Minnesota.

The Minnesota CAV Challenge allows industry and transportation partners to propose innovative projects to advance CAV technologies in Minnesota.  The on-going Request for Proposals allows proposal to be submitted at any time. MnDOT also has a pre-qualified list, an Innovative Ideas Program, and a master list for partners interested in working to advance transportation safety and access.

CAV challenge projects

The following projects have been selected through the Minnesota CAV Challenge RFP, and are under contract with MnDOT.  

  • Rochester autonomous shuttle pilot (PDF) 
  • This project is the deployment of a level 4 automated shuttle in Rochester, Minnesota. The goal of this this project is to safely operate the automated shuttle for 12-months to gather lessons learned for Automated Vehicle operations.
  • Fiber Optic feasibility study: The Connected and Automated Innovative Design and Engagement Analysis (CAV IDEA) (PDF)
    This project is a partnership with Ernst & Young, Minnesota IT, MnDOT, and the Department of Employment and Economic Development. This project assesses where the state’s fiber optic assets are currently located, and how public and private entities can work together to expand fiber during open road construction projects to meet the state’s broadband expansion goals. Partners are developing an innovative tool to identify gaps and develop a plan to expand fiber to advance safety, community broadband, transportation system operations and plan for a future with CAV.
  • Statewide CAV Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan
    MnDOT is partnering with WSB and HDR to understand how stakeholders and communities want the state to plan and prepare for CAV. The project examines the state’s CAV goals, how we work with stakeholders, what tools will help the state educate communities about CAV, and how organizations can listen and learn from Minnesotans on how CAV can improve quality of life.
  • Traveler alert
  • The Connected Vehicle Traveler Alert project uses vehicle location data for snowplows and maintenance vehicles to broadcast caution messages to drivers who may be driving in the area that these vehicles are operating. Messages are broadcast via roadside electronic signs and mobile phone applications. The goal is to increase driver awareness to maintenance and plowing operations and improve safety.
  • Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (PDF)
  • This project is examining the impacts of an autonomous crash cushion and how it can be used to remove MnDOT maintenance workers from harm’s way.
  • Smart Snelling 
  • The Smart Snelling project will a technology system that supports connected vehicle (CV) technology on Snelling Avenue and County Road B2 in Ramsey County. Drivers, pedestrians and bikers can download the TravelSafely app that will send users real time audio notifications of the surrounding driving environment. 
  • Automated Bus Consortium (ABC)
  • This project consists of a full-sized, full-speed, accessible buses that will allow a consortium of states to collectively demonstrate and deploy automated technologies in live service environments. The ABC will take place in Rochester.
  • Lidar Research (PDF)
    Many automated vehicles today rely on LiDAR technology—a radar system that uses lasers to measure surrounding objects—which help the vehicle safely navigate the world around it. This project is studying how reliable and durable LiDAR technology operates in snow, rain and dusty environments all of which are known to Minnesota. The outcomes of this research project will provide insight on what is needed to accurately prepare and equip automated vehicles with technology that can handle Minnesota’s weather and climate.

Test corridors

MnDOT is testing connected and automated vehicle technologies throughout the state. 

  • Highway 55 Connected Corridor: This Minneapolis corridor includes upgraded traffic signals that can send information to connected vehicles to help advance basic safety messaging, signal priority, prevent cyber attacks and promote data security.
  • Highway 52 Rural Corridor: To improve safety and traffic flow between Rochester and St Paul, fiber optic and other technologies are being installed. Testing will address move over alerts, work zone safety, and traveler information. 
  • Interstate 94: MnDOT is piloting advanced pavement markings that are easier for drivers - and automated vehicles - to see near Monticello, Minnesota.
  • MnROAD: Minnesota has one of the nation’s leading testing facilities with a 2.5-mile closed track, and a 3.5-mile closed segment of freeway to test connected and automated vehicle technology. Previous testing addressed pavement impacts, smart signs, lane-keeping, winter-weather impacts of CAVs, and autonomous commercial trucking.

Truck platooning in Minnesota

Truck platooning is when special technology links two or more commercial trucks. These vehicles maintain a set, close distance for all or parts of a journey.

2018 Autonomous Bus Pilot

Automated Shuttle Bus Pilot Project – In 2017 MnDOT piloted the nation’s first connected and automated vehicle technology in winter weather at the state’s MnROAD facility and during a 3-day demonstration in Minneapolis during the Super Bowl. Over 1,300 attended the demonstration, including members of the American Federation of the Blind.

Engagement

MnDOT is currently developing a Statewide CAV Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan that will examine and implement effective tactics and messaging to inform and involve Minnesotan’s on how the state is preparing for CAV.

Public events & demonstrations

    • Automated vehicle demonstrations – The automated vehicle demonstrations is a 30-minute experience that allows our various audiences and stakeholders to see, touch and feel the future of Connected and Automated Vehicles.
    • State Fair – MnDOT will be at the 2020 State Fair to discuss STEM related CAV careers!
    • Minnesota Transportation Conference – Each year MnDOT’s CAV-X office overviews its major projects, public outreach efforts, and innovations and hosts a booth to discuss partnership opportunities.

If you would like to know more about CAV engagement opportunities, please contact CAV-X Engagement Coordinator, Keith Mensah.

Public outreach resources