Influence of Autonomous and Partially Autonomous Vehicles on Minnesota Roads

Principal Investigator(s):

Rajesh Rajamani, Professor, Chair, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

This project focused on experimental tests of the performance characteristics of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on highways and local roads in Minnesota. The project provided detailed data characterizing AV performance, which in turn can be used to inform the transportation community on implications for infrastructure maintenance, winter road maintenance, work zone guidelines, safety, and traffic capacity. The experimental work presented here makes use of a new autonomous vehicle purchased by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. The key aspects of the autonomous functions of the vehicle studied in this project include winter performance and implications for road maintenance, characterization of the driving performance of the AV and its likely influence on safety, traffic flow and fuel economy, and the ability of the AV to handle work zones and the implications on changes needed to the guidelines for work zones. The project documented the major challenges and obstacles ahead in the way of true autonomy on Minnesota roads, but also outlined further areas for research with which it will be possible to facilitate the improvement of the capabilities of autonomous vehicles in Minnesota in the future.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2022002
  • Start date: 05/2021
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Connected and automated vehicles