Transurban North America, alongside its partners from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and Crash Avoidance Metrics Partners, conducted demonstrations of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on its 395 Express Lanes near Washington D.C. The trials and demonstrations conducted by the company and its partners were funded in part by a $7.5 million (€7.1 million) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Transurban-led coalition partnered with law enforcement and first responders to identify situations in which CAVs need to respond quickly and appropriately, such as the presence of first responders, work zones or traffic incidents on the road. Here, the demonstrations worked to show how technology integrated into infrastructure, like the smart Express Lanes, can make CAVs safer, more reliable, and more efficient.
With a focus on safety, the demonstrations saw a CAV navigate through several scenarios designed to challenge it and ensure that it kept passengers and other road users safe. These scenarios included a law enforcement officer providing hand signal around a simulated crash scene, detecting upcoming hazards out of the line of sight of the CAV through communication with the roadway technology, and navigating safely around first responders and construction workers and work zones. Another scenario involved forming a tight vehicle formation based on real-time speed and distance information from infrastructure increasing road density.
Transurban, with its partners, is planning to conduct a second round of CAV demonstrations on the same 395 Express Lanes in November.