Could remote drivers be the future of ride-hailing?

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.

A new technology combining nearly autonomous vehicles with remote “tele-operators” has the potential to overcome both the technological and societal hurdles posed by driverless vehicles. Ride-hailing providers will be an important application for remote-driving technology, and U of M researchers found it offers clear advantages for companies and their customers.

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Managing Building Assets With Scanning and Reality Modeling

MnDOT owns and maintains approximately 900 buildings across Minnesota, and the Building Services Section is responsible for planning repairs, renovations or expansions. Architects, engineers and other specialists involved in these activities require data regarding building and site conditions. Collecting this data is often a multidisciplinary and laborious effort that can be time-consuming and expensive. Alternative technologies, however, can gather and process large amounts of accurate information more comprehensively, safely and cost-effectively. 

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Improving Asphalt Performance and Durability With Superpave 5

Minnesota’s harsh climate requires dense, durable asphalt to avoid frequent maintenance and replacement. Asphalt mixes as designed in the laboratory, however, don’t always perform consistently in the field. A new Superpave mix shows promise for providing cost-effective, high-performing pavements for state roadways.

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Improving Road Safety and Wildlife Conservation With Barrier Fencing

Small animals crossing roads put the animals at risk and present a significant safety hazard to road users. Motorists who suddenly stop or slow to avoid small animals crossing the road can cause significant safety concerns. Motorcyclists and bicyclists risk serious injury if they swerve or hit an animal, as do pedestrians in the road trying to assist the animals. A new, cost-effective fence design was tested and shown to be effective in preventing small animal crossings, benefiting both public safety and conservation. 

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Roadside Safe Spaces for Butterflies and Bees

Pollinators such as rusty-patched bumble bees and monarch butterflies, critical to our eco-system, are at risk due to the loss of native habitat. A University of Minnesota research team, with support of MnDOT and the Local Road Research Board, studied whether restored roadsides could provide safe habitats for declining pollinator populations.

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Expanding Alternative Snow Control Through Landowner Engagement

Some rural landowners maintain snow fences to prevent blowing snow from reaching highways, decreasing the resources MnDOT spends on winter maintenance. A recent project provided new information and updated tools to encourage more landowners to adopt this alternative snow control method.

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Pond Maintenance Strategies to Retain Phosphorus

Cities and counties depend on stormwater retention ponds to protect water quality in lakes and streams. New research sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board has identified cost-effective methods for ensuring pollutants remain in pond sediment and are not released into other bodies of water.

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Research Pays Off Webinar Series: Intelligent Compaction Technology as a Service and for Compliance

The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) is hosting “Intelligent Compaction Technology as a Service and for Compliance – How ICT Research has led to the Removal of Technicians from Construction Sites in the UK” on July 19 at 10 a.m. CST, presented by Ruairi Charlesworth of Highway Data Systems.

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Minnesota's transportation research blog