The Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence was awarded a National Science Foundation Project grant on April 15, 2021 called ISA-TOPE, which stands for Innovative, Semi-Autonomous Trucks and Off-highway Powered Equipment.

Grant deliverables

A training schedule and program for at least 8 OEM ISA-TOPE Professional Development training sessions

A collection of 6 different Virtual Outreach Events (videos) with a focus on connecting with diverse (rural, female, and under-represented) students.

Open Educational Resources, college-level ISA-TOPE curriculum covering approximately 30 hours of instruction/labs.

Provide hands-on, real world ISA-TOPE exposure to various schools around the state of Minnesota.

Aid in the development of a national, industry-recognized autonomous technology certification process.

As we initiate this process, we will continue to have multiple dialogues with diesel instructors and OEM distributors to determine the best type of technology to acquire that will bring the most value to the schools utilizing the technology. We will utilize the annual MTTIA conference as our primary location for professional development training. The TCOE will also use the acquired ISA-TOPE technology to develop multiple outreach videos that can be utilized in various outreach activities throughout the state or beyond. The videos are reusable and can provide a consistent message to students about the level of technology in the diesel, truck, or equipment technician and truck driver programs offered at Minnesota State Colleges. Curriculum will also be developed for diesel technician and truck driver training related to autonomous technology. This curriculum will be utilized at schools, in conjunction with the acquired technology, to provide students with usable technology in real-world applications. The TCOE will also collaborate with various industry leading associations (i.e. ASE or AED) and aid in the development of national, industry-recognized, industry-influenced, standards that can lead to certifications for both technicians and students.

To contact the TCOE or the Principle Investigators (PI) on this project, please call or e-mail:

Carl Borleis
Principle Investigator

Chris Hadfield, Ed.M.
Co-Principle Investigator

Shannon Mohn
Co-Principle Investigator