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 ongoing 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.
The Bear Tracks demonstration project launched in August 2022 and will operate for 12 months in the city of White Bear Lake. The project will study shuttle use in a suburban area in all weather conditions.
The Med City Mover demonstration project tested two low-speed, automated, electric, multi-passenger shuttles in downtown Rochester, MN. The shuttles drove a programmed route for 12 months and ended on Aug. 31, 2022. During this time, MnDOT and project partners tested technology, gathered feedback from residents, and conducted research on shuttle use. A full report on the Med City Mover will be posted here in the fall of 2022.
The goMarti demonstration project will launch in October 2022.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Smart Snelling Project is a public-private partnership proposed under MnDOT’s CAV Challenge innovation process. This pilot will deploy connected vehicle technology along Snelling Avenue and County Road B2 in Ramsey County, Minnesota.
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.
MnDOT is testing connected and automated vehicle technologies throughout the state.
- Highway 52 Rural Corridor (PDF): 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.
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.
If you would like to know more about CAV engagement opportunities, please contact Tara Olds.