A startup by the name of Cavnue is working with the Michigan Department of Transport to build a lane dedicated to self-driving cars along a 25-mile stretch of I-94.
Washington, D.C.-based Cavnue, which raised $130 million in its most recent round of funding, including investment from Ford, is developing what it calls a connected corridor. Building on technologies like vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, the corridor could help guide cars and trucks in busy areas and move them more efficiently.
According to Cavnue, vehicles equipped with automatic steering and braking systems could be guided along the corridor faster and at closer distances to what a human driver could safely do on a normal road, as the vehicles in the corridor would be constantly communicating with each other and surrounding infrastructure. The company said the technology could also be equipped on roads allowing for both self-driving and conventional vehicles.
The proposed first stretch for Cavnue's connected corridor is between Detroit and Ann Arbor. Lessons learned from the project will be used to further evaluate a deployment on Michigan Avenue and potentially grow a network of corridors connecting up Southeast Michigan. If successful, it could be further expanded across the country.
With Ford being a key backer, Cavnue will use Ford vehicles and the automaker's own self-driving systems to develop and demonstrate the connected corridor. Cavnue will also work with Ford to determine what standards OEMs require, including the definition of messages, sensing requirements, and protocols.
Cavnue hasn't said when it expects construction of its first connected corridor to begin.