Automated Vehicles

The applications surrounding successfully developing self-driving cars and other vehicles are reshaping not only the auto industry, but mobility worldwide. As a U.S. Department of Transportation designated AV Proving Grounds, Wisconsin is at the forefront of these transformative technologies, and the R&D we do contributes to revolutionizing how the world uses transportation. Scroll down or explore additional resources to learn more.

The Wisconsin AV Proving Grounds partners are a natural choice for the AV R&D because of the range of environments and facilities available to accommodate the testing of a wide variety of different technologies and applications. These range from lab-based and simulated environments, the closed track at MGA Research in Burlington, Road America in Elkhart Lake, corporate campuses, the UW-Madison campus, and public roads.

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Automated Vehicle Technology

Avid attention on automated or autonomous vehicle (AV) technology is widespread and burgeoning, and the collaborative groundwork being laid in Wisconsin is a prime example. Wisconsin is leading the development of deeper understanding of this transformative technology and how it can be harnessed for the greater good of society. Researchers with the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) assess the benefits, technical aspects, and risks of AV, as well as collaborate on policy issues with government. AVs are rapidly pushing technical, safety, acceptability, legal, regulatory, and liability boundaries.

AVs have significant potential to improve safety and quality of life. More specifically, AV shared mobility can provide ladders of opportunity to all, including previously underserved communities. Furthermore, AVs can bring significant new research and development opportunities to UW-Madison and new businesses to the state of Wisconsin, including startups and tech companies.

Navya Arma

How Automated Vehicles Work

AV Technology - Top View
AV Technology - Cameras

Cameras

Cameras gather visual information from the road and traffic control and send them to the controller for processing.

AV Technology - LiDAR

LiDAR

LiDAR sensors bounce lasers off of detected objects. LiDAR can detect road lines and assets and differentiate objects.

AV Technology - Radar

Radar

Radar sensors bounce radio waves off detected objects. Radar cannot differentiate objects.

GPS Unit

GPS Unit

The GPS unit identifies the precise position of the vehicle and aids in navigation.

About the Proving Grounds

The mission of the Wisconsin AV Proving Grounds (AVPG) is to provide a path to public road evaluation by contributing to the safe and rapid advancement of automated vehicle development and deployment, and providing a full suite of test environments, coupled with research, open data, and stakeholder communication. Our team’s philosophy holds paramount safety, followed by best practice tenets of security and open data. Without these fundamental elements, we recognize it makes little difference what our readiness is or what research and development objectives may be.

AV Working Group

Proving Grounds Objectives

Objective - Data and Sensing

Data and sensing including LIDAR, GPS, cameras, communications, and other sensors. This parallels the Safety Assessment point on Object and Event Detection and Response.

Objective - Testing and Validation

Testing and validation methods for AV systems.

Objective - Standards

Advancing standards, safety protocols, and security.

Objective - Vehicle Operations

Vehicle operations including speed, acceleration and deceleration, performance on grades and curves, and in the case of electric vehicles, range and charging time.

Objective - Interfaces

Human-machine interfaces such as sensors, communications, and responses. For this item, our team has the opportunity to leverage the full-scale driving simulator at UW-Madison’s College of Engineering.

Objective - Interaction

Interaction with pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds, cars, and traffic control devices.

Objective - Weather

Inclement weather operations including snow, ice, fog, and high winds. One of the larger unknowns for AVs is winter operation.

Objective - Passenger

Passenger comfort, public perception, and safety improvement.

AV microtransit developments, enhancements, and testing.

Testing Timeline

Testing timeline

Mandli Communications

MGA Research

Road America

UW – Madison

Corporate Campuses

City of Madison

Testing Facility

Testing Types

Proving Grounds Facilities

The team includes the second largest city in Wisconsin, the region’s largest private employer, a premier private proving grounds in operation for decades, one of the nation’s most reputable race tracks, public agencies, and Wisconsin’s flagship research university. Researchers with the UW-Madison College of Engineering will manage and oversee all aspects of the AV proving grounds work, as well as provide research, development, and data stewardship. A key partner on this team is the automotive proving grounds facility owned and operated by MGA Research Corporation near Burlington, WI. The City of Madison and other agencies are partners for AV policy development, regulation, and operations on their roads.

1

Mandli Communications

Fitchburg, WI

2

MGA Research

Burlington, WI

3

Road America

Elkhart Lake, WI

4

UW – Madison

Madison, WI

5

City of Madison

Madison, WI

6

Chippewa Valley Regional Airport

Eau Claire, WI

Additionally, we work with corporate campuses to test automated vehicles in workplace environments, accounting for such factors as safety, usability, and acceptance.

Automated Vehicle Events

IEEE Madison AVs

Madison, Wisconsin

October 19, 2017

ITS World Congress

Montreal, Quebec

October 29 – November 02, 2017

Our Partners

News from the Proving Grounds

Brief: U.S. DOT Releases New Autonomous Vehicles Comprehensive Plan

With Biden’s inauguration around the corner and mounting expectations for his Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its new Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan on January 11. The report highlights the agency’s strategy to ensure the safe rollout of automated driving systems.

“The AVCP lays out the department’s robust multimodal strategy to promote collaboration and transparency, modernize the regulatory environment, and prepare the transportation system for the safe integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS),” according to a department press release. “The AVCP builds on the U.S. Government’s core principles related to automated vehicles, outlined in Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0 (AV 4.0),” the release continued.

But unlike the “core principles” outlined in AV 4.0, the plan presents clear actions the department is pursuing to ensure the safe integration of automated driving systems into the transportation system. For example, the department is proposing several updates to the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), including pavement markings on all roads with a posted speed above 40 mph be 6″ wide; chevron markings in all transition areas are now recommended; and dotted edge line extensions on highway exit and entrance ramps would be mandatory, not optional.

The report also highlights five use cases that demonstrate how the department is currently supporting ADS development and outlines key initiatives the U.S. DOT has leveraged to obtain input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including across industry and other governmental agencies.

The plan comes on the heels of another U.S. DOT report published in December, which summarizes findings from the 2019 CV/AV Survey administered to agencies from 78 large metropolitan areas and 30 medium-size cities.

Overall, one-quarter of agencies surveyed reported they have deployed connected vehicles, and another 30% saying they plan to deploy CVs in the future. Among the agency types, freeway agencies currently lead in CV activities, with 65% deploying or planning to deploy, compared to around half of arterial and transit agencies.

Over one-third (39%) report AV testing or deployment occurring in their region or state among all the surveyed agencies. However, only 14% report active involvement in the testing; 10% support the AV testing, and 4% lead the AV testing. The remaining 25% of agencies are not involved in the AV testing.

The release of both reports is timely, with stakeholders arguing it is time for Congress to provide a robust infrastructure reauthorization bill to support the safe deployment of these next-generation transportation technologies.

The AVCP will be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

 

Robert Fischer is President of GTiMA, a Technology and Policy Advisor to Mandli Communications, and an Associate Editor of the SAE International Journal of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Follow Rob on Twitter (@Robfischeris) and Linkedin.

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Contact the Proving Grounds

College of Engineering

1415 Engineering Drive

Madison WI 53706

United States

Wisconsin

608.890.0509

Washington, D.C.

202.568.2273

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Recent AV Forums

Date
Location
Speakers
Aug 15 2018

TAPCO

5100 W Brown Deer Road

Brown Deer WI 53223

Brian Scharles Jr

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Rob Fischer

Art Harrington

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6000 American Parkway

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Feb 23 2018

AAA

8401 Excelsior Drive

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833 E. Michigan Street, Suite 1800

Milwaukee WI 53202

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Fitchburg Public Library

5530 Lacy Road

Fitchburg WI 53711

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Fitchburg Public Library

5530 Lacy Road

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