By Chris Hadfield
Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence
Did you know that nearly 94% of all vehicle fatalities are caused by human factors? The whole point of vehicle connection and automation is to increase safety and reduce human error. There are many technical challenges and other issues that need to be addressed ahead of time.
Minnesota’s Department of Transportation is reacting. The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles met a few times in 2019 and so far has 5 meetings scheduled for 2020. The Council drives Minnesota towards one vision: to build a future transportation system that is safe, equitable, accessible, efficient, healthy and sustainable. Through policy recommendations and partnerships, the Council promotes community outreach, education, industry partnerships, research, and innovation to achieve this vision.
The discussion came about with how we are going to deal with it. What laws will we enact? What will roads look like? What will technicians need to know or do? How will it affect the economy, transportation, delivery, and the workforce? Minnesota’s answers, like every other state, are in the formation stage and will likely be discussed and acted on for the next few years. Things like legislation, projects, rules, recommendations, and more are all discussed at the Council. For more information on the Council and its activities, check out their website.
There are 8 projects in Minnesota related to connected and autonomous vehicles. These projects are to investigate their abilities, test them in winter conditions, and perform outreach to the general public. The intention of outreach is to let the general public be able to see facts and capabilities, and to be able to make their own judgement on CAV’s. These projects range from autonomous bus demonstrations to truck platooning to separate road testing.
What are other states doing? There are currently over 80 autonomous shuttle pilots throughout the country. Over 41 states have considered CAV legislation. How does Minnesota’s CAV program compare to other states? For more information about MN CAV-X and more, check out the full CAV-X report to legislature.