This Week at NCDOT: Advanced driver-assistance technology and public transportation summit

Raleigh, NC – The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured inNCDOT Now, the department’s weekly newscast.

steering assist settingAdvanced Driver-Assistance Technology

The N.C. Turnpike Authority recently tested a vehicle with advanced driver-assistance technology on the Triangle Expressway. This is part of NCTA’s commitment to safety and staying on the forefront of this emerging technology.

The Turnpike Authority spent 30 hours of drive time in a Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise. NCTA partnered with General Motors, who provided the opportunity to test the vehicle with advanced driver-assistance features.

“Autonomous vehicle technology is an emerging technology, however many vehicles produced and sold today have advanced driver-assistance technology features,” said Dennis Jernigan, NCTA Director of Highway Operations. “The Turnpike Authority wanted to evaluate how one of those vehicles performed on the Triangle Expressway in conjunction with our tolling operations, as well as to see how the vehicle interacted with other motorists on a facility in North Carolina.”

The car is known as the industry’s first hands-free and feet-free driving technology for the highway. The car’s cameras and GPS sensors govern steering, braking and acceleration. When Super Cruise is engaged, the driver still has to keep their eyes on the road.

The Turnpike Authority tested the vehicle to see how it worked with the tolling technology on the Triangle Expressway and to research how the advanced safety features reacted to highway conditions.

Public Transportation Summit

Transportation leaders from across the state met in Raleigh last week to unveil the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation Strategic Plan.

This is a framework for setting priorities and strengthening partnerships to improve urban and rural transit service. With a vision of “Connecting North Carolinians to Opportunities,” the Plan recommends expanded local and regional commuter services and outlines ways to focus transit spending.

While people may not think of technology as a component of public transportation, it’s an important piece in preparing for the future.

For example, one idea being worked on at North Carolina State University is EcoPRT (personal rapid transit). With the help of a NCDOT grant, students are developing an ultra-light and low-cost transit system that uses autonomous two-person cars that drive on an elevated railing system, similar to a monorail.

This technology could help alleviate road congestion and address mobility needs for citizens.