The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) recently co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin testing connected and automated vehicle (CV/AV) technologies on the state highway system. The MOU delineates the guidelines that would allow TTI to test lab-proven technologies in a real-world environment.
TxDOT is responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of 80,000 miles of Texas’ highway system. The safety of all motorists is the deciding factor in everything TxDOT does.
Through this MOU, TTI can propose testing of its own technology applications or technologies from industry and other universities. TTI will develop a plan with TxDOT that details the technology to be tested, how it performed in previous laboratory and controlled tests, where it will be tested and for how long. The plan will also describe how the tests can be safely demonstrated and piloted on Texas highways.
The first agreement between TxDOT and TTI to begin testing on a state roadway could happen soon. Five separate TxDOT research projects are being evaluated at TTI’s Proving Ground at the Texas A&M University System RELLIS Campus, and will be ready for real-world testing in the near future.
On a related note, TTI, the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and cities across Texas formed the Texas Automated Vehicle (AV) Proving Ground Partnership in December. This partnership builds upon the recent Texas Mobility Summit hosted by TxDOT. Members of the Partnership are contributing their facilities, expertise and staff as part of a larger Texas network of proving grounds and test-bed sites to advance CV/AV technologies.