Although surface transportation systems are indispensable for our society, several alarming statistics on accidents and fatalities, congestion, fuel consumption and emissions have raised serious concerns. While emerging technologies for Connected Vehicles (CV) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) will bring transformative changes, many open research challenges remain. Moreover, new designs, technologies, infrastructures and applications must be evaluated and validated before their deployment.

This project develops an integrated 5-in-1 instrument for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Evaluation and Experimentation (iCAVE2), along with instrumented vehicles, including a self-driving shuttle (the Olli bus) and UB’s Lincoln MKZ’s AV platform with sensor packages supporting both open source software called Autoware and Apollo.

iCAVE2 is the first-of-its-kind with unprecedented capabilities, not offered by any simulator-based instrument or test-beds in academic, industrial or government-based R&D laboratories. It bridges the gap between existing simulators and road testing facilities by providing a flexible, scalable (and yet low-cost), and more importantly, safe (and yet realistic) platform for comprehensive and holistic evaluation and experiments of CV/AV technologies and their applications. Thus, it is particularly suitable for answering various “what-if” questions related to safety, efficiency and sustainability arising from human-automation interactions with not-yet-available technologies and rare/extreme events (e.g. severe weather or emergency situations). The instrument is useful to researchers in academia and IT industry, and developers and decision makers in the auto-manufacturing, auto-insurance and government transportation agencies. The instrument will also be useful to run CV/AV algorithms and applications to collect data and enable many advanced research activities related to Big Data in transportation systems.

Lincoln MKZ is a customized car used as automated research development platform. It is equipped with range of sensors, power distribution system, computer, drive-by-wire and vehicle network interfaces.

The Olli Bus, produced by Arizona-based Local Motors is a self-driving, electric-powered 8-passenger bus, crafted from a 3-D printed design and assembled outside of a traditional factory. It uses 360-degree sensors, radar and cameras to function – as well as a digital map stored on the vehicle. The Olli projected was funded by NYSERDA, NYSDOT and UB.