Summary of the Client

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is the entity overseeing state-wide transportation projects in Minnesota.  Other project partners included 3M, a multinational conglomerate spanning multiple industries and headquartered in Maplewood, Minnesota, and EasyMile, an autonomous vehicle manufacturer.

The Challenge

MnDOT’s was interested in advancing its position as an industry leader and innovator.  Its research indicated a lack of exposure to AV technology in the state and a nationwide lack of testing in severe winter weather. MnDOT’s goals for this project were to:

  • Assess the vehicle’s durability and operability in extreme winter conditions
  • Identify opportunities to deploy SAVs in public transportation scenarios and improve mobility
  • Engage public feedback and build trust in AV technology
  • Increase the presence of this technology in the state
  • Lead and influence the national usage of AV technology

The Solution 

First Transit worked with project partners to operate one AV shuttle in multiple scenarios, including testing on a private track and public tours and demonstrations at:

  • A major football game
  • 3M campus
  • University of Minnesota campus
  • Nicollet Mall
  • Hennepin County
  • City of Rochester

Measurable Results

The project successfully provided insight into AV technology and opportunities for MnDOT to expand its usage throughout the state. It also established a foundation for future public-private partnerships and third-party operation of SAV services.

A survey conducted following the Roadshow’s conclusion revealed a positive response to the use of AV technology through rider feedback. 96% of passengers surveyed felt safe onboard the SAV. Most riders were excited to participate in this demonstration and looked forward to the application of AV technology in Minnesota.