Learn more about

Minnesota's CAV Challenge

CAV Challenge request for proposals

The Minnesota CAV Challenge is an innovative request for proposals (RFP) that seeks to advance emerging technologies to improve transportation for all Minnesotans.

Connected and automated vehicles (CAV) technology is advancing rapidly with the potential to make Minnesota communities safer and more equitable. MnDOT created an innovative and flexible approach to working with the connected and automated industry to harness these evolving technologies to help solve community challenges. The CAV Challenge is an open and rolling procurement process that fosters innovation. Public and private entities can propose CAV solutions to improve safety, efficiency, equity and mobility. Minnesota is a destination for CAV innovation.

Why Minnesota?

Minnesota is the first state to create this new and innovative approach to advance CAV. State leaders invest $2.5 million each year to seek innovative ideas to test and deploy new and emerging CAV technologies. MnDOT is excited to welcome partners to Minnesota to leverage opportunities, including:

  • Winter weather: Help industry solve winter weather challenges through testing at its MnROAD facility.
  • CAV support expertise: MnDOT's CAV Office (CAV-X) is one of the country's leading teams dedicated to CAV policy, planning and engineering.
  • Dedicated funding: MnDOT has dedicated significant funding towards advancing mobility solutions through CAV.
  • Innovation: Minnesota is open to trying new ideas.
  • Testng experience: MnDOT has experience testing CAV and other technologies.
  • Connected Corridors: Minnesota has one of the most advanced connected vehicle corridors in the country. MnDOT seeks partnerships with industry to use this corridor and develop other urban and rural applications.
  • Leadership: Minnesota has strong support from its Governor's Advisory Council on CAV, state agencies, CAV office, private industry and stakeholders to advance CAV to improve safety.
  • National leader: This program earned the "3rd most innovative procurement" from National Cronin Awards for contract excellence, and is now being adopted in other states.

MnDOT's team of experts work with those who submit proposals to develop ideas that benefit not only Minnesota, but all states as we prepare for a connected and automated future.

Submit your idea - how the process works

Stage One: Meeting

Request a stage one meeting to discuss your idea with MnDOT. CAV staff and technical experts will ask questions to ensure ideas align with state goals, benefit the public and fill national research gaps. We can meet with you in person, by phone or online. Discussions remain confidential—this is your innovative idea. We don't require a Stage One meeting to submit a proposal, but we strongly encourage you to schedule one to allow you to ask questions and clarify your idea.

Stage Two: Submittal

You can submit a stage two proposal any time throughout the year. MnDOT reviews proposals quarterly and awards projects based on how well they align with state and national goals and available funding. For more information on how to submit a proposal and the CAV Challenge program, review the CAV Challenge RFP (PDF).

Review Process

We review proposals in three phases:


Technical experts review and provide a recommendation to the review team.


The review team discusses the proposals to determine if it meets the RFP requirements. The review team includes a district engineer, the CAV office director and the CAV program manager. The review team then recommends successful proposals to MnDOT's senior leadership and executive leadership.


MnDOT's Assistant Commissioner of Operations and Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer consult with the CAV office director for final approval.


Unsuccessful proposers can meet with reviewers to understand how to improve concepts.

Why the CAV Challenge?

Recognizing that private industry is rapidly advancing technology, we know it is critical to partner with public and private entities to improve transportation. You can help us influence transportation innovation through Minnesota's CAV Challenge by:

  • Ensuring that these technologies work in winter climates and meet the needs of all communities.
  • Leveraging public-private partnerships to advance transportation opportunities using CAV.
  • Preparing Minnesota’s infrastructure, policy and workforce for CAV.
  • Helping the public to better understand the benefits and limitations of CAV technology by creating opportunities to provide feedback and experience the technology first-hand.
  • Accelerating implementation of CAV technology in Minnesota.
  • Gaining institutional knowledge.
  • Filling in research gaps that other states or organizations aren’t working on.
  • Showing the direct public benefit of emerging transportation technologies.

Past CAV Challenge Projects

Launched in October 2018, the CAV Challenge has resulted in 10+ projects funded totaling over $5.5 million.

Projects currently underway or recently concluded include:

Med City Mover

MnDOT operated a low speed, highly automated shuttle for 12 months near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Partner's include First Transit, Easy Mile, Mayo Clinic, Destination Medical Center and the City of Rochester.

Automated Bus Consortium

A dozen states and public organizations coordinated to jointly procure and deploy Level 4 automated full-size buses across the country. Learn more about the Automated Bus Consortium.

Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator

MnDOT tested automated truck-mounted attenuators-known as "crash cushions"- to increase safety and efficiency for roadside workers and motorists. Partners include Kratos Defense amd Security Solutions, Royal Truck and Equipment, maintenance professionals and other state DOTs.

Community Driven CAV

MnDOT is conducting a study in the Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) in Saint Paul that will create a community-led vision for connected and automated (CAV) technology and identify potential demonstration projects to solve community challenges to test at a later time.

Statewide CAV Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan

The Governor's Advisory Council prioritized engagement and outreach to Minnesotas to understand how Minnesota should plan and prepare for CAV technologies. This plan helped CAV create a strong foundation for CAV by building relationships, identifying and addressing concerns, as well as recognizing and integrating diverse ideas. Partners included HDR, Policy Grounds, New Publica and WSB.

Smart Snelling

MnDOT tested out snowplow priority on traffic signals to make plowing easier, more efficient and safer. This project also coordinated with cyclists, pedestrians and other road users to test connected vehicle technologies to notify vehicles when these road users are nearby. Partners included Traffic Control Corporation, Applied Intelligence, Ideate Consulting, Ramsey County and traffic safety and active transportation stakeholders.


This self-driving shuttle pilot formed from a unique partnership of groups with a shared goal of increasing accessibility and transportation options for residents and visitors in Grand Rapids. The 18-month goMARTI (Minnesota's Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative) deployment has a fleet of five May Mobility autonomous vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Traveler Alert

Using automatic vehicle location data, the Connected Vehicle Traveler Alert activated dynamic message signs to inform the traveling public of MnDOT work vehicles in their path of travel on select Minnesota highways.

Bear Tracks

Bear Tracks is a 12-month demonstration project featuring a shuttle designed to operate in all-weather conditions. The project introduced CAV to the City of White Bear Lake and is quickly providing insights for future CAV deployments across Minnesota.