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Connected and Automated Vehicles

Automated vehicles (often called self-driving vehicles or “AVs”) have been a dream for much of the 20th century. Fully self-driving vehicles are not yet developed. Many automated vehicles still require a human to monitor the roadway or drive part of the time, while other vehicles require no human intervention. Connected vehicles (CV) are vehicles that can share information with other cars, infrastructure and other technologies (like smartphones). States and the federal government believe that connecting AVs – called a connected and automated (CAV) vehicle – can enhance the safety of these technologies. The private sector is mostly advancing AV technologies without any connectivity.

Technology evolves constantly, so it is difficult to predict when self-driving cars will be on our roads. However, the amount of automation in vehicles is increasing. Twenty years ago cruise control and traction control were some of the only automated systems in a vehicle, while today vehicles can park, change lanes and keep a safe following distance without driver input. Pilots and limited deployments of more advanced automated vehicles are becoming increasingly common. However, significantly more research and testing is needed before fully automated vehicles will be widely adopted.

AVs have the potential to significantly change the way that people travel. That is why it is important to understand the implications of this technology when planning for the future of transportation. Benefits could include reducing fatalities and injuries, reduced congestion, reduced parking demand, shifts in travel behavior and others. However, many questions still remain on how AVs will impact society, such as how they’ll impact equity, who is responsible in a collision, and how personal information is protected.

Minnesota is addressing these challenges and working to thoughtfully prepare for AVs and CVs through a combination of executive orders, legislative actions, pilot projects and public-private initiatives to study and invest in these emerging technologies.

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