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

USDOT Announces 2018 Build Grant Recipients

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao yesterday announced $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding to 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The grants are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants program and support road, rail, transit, and port infrastructure projects across the country.

“There’s a lot of need for investments in infrastructure across the country,” Chao said. “The project awards announced [Dec. 11] are one dimension of ongoing administration efforts to increase improvements of America’s infrastructure.”

The BUILD grants replaced the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which was popular with state and local agencies.

Breaking from the past, the USDOT prioritized rural projects. Though 59 percent of the applications were for rural projects, 62 projects were awarded to rural grant applications.

The TIGER grant program under the Obama Administration, conversely, typically favored urban walking, biking and transit projects.

Among the recipients of this year’s BUILD grants was Brown County, Wisconsin, which was awarded $19,757,899 – for a project estimated to cost $27,828,150.

The project will eliminate the only remaining at-grade intersection along Brown County’s portion of the STH 29 corridor at County Highway VV and U, replacing it with a full-access interchange with sidewalks, stripped on-street bike lanes, and roundabouts at the ramp terminals and nearby intersections.

The project will also install an ITS changeable message board to inform drivers of delays as they enter the Green Bay urbanized area, as well as extends fiber/broadband to rural communities.

“It was super competitive,” said Deputy DOT Secretary Jeffrey Rosen. He said the department received 851 applications, which sought a total of $11 billion–far more than the amount available.

Project applications were evaluated by a team of 222 career staff in the Department and selected based on established criteria.

The criteria included safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, and state of good repair. Further criteria included innovation, such as projects supporting Autonomous Vehicles infrastructure, broadband service to underserved communities, as well as projects that demonstrate partnerships between the public and private sectors, and non-Federal revenue for transportation infrastructure investments.

Chao also expressed hope that, in the coming year, lawmakers will reach a bipartisan infrastructure initiative.

“Over the past month, it’s been frequently observed that infrastructure is a subject that’s especially ripe for bipartisan legislation,” Chao said. “This administration will continue to work with Congress to enhance existing infrastructure programs.”

 

Rob Fischer is President of GTiMA and a senior tech and policy advisor to Mandli Communications’ strategy team. GTiMA and Mandli Communications are both proud partners of the Wisconsin Autonomous Vehicle Proving Ground.

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

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Rob Fischer

Art Harrington

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Feb 23 2018

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8401 Excelsior Drive

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833 E. Michigan Street, Suite 1800

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5530 Lacy Road

Fitchburg WI 53711

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5530 Lacy Road

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