Governor Mark Dayton has issued an executive order to establish a 15-member advisory council to study the opportunities that widespread adoption of automated and connected vehicles could bring to Minnesota.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle announced the executive order during a news conference at the State Capitol in conjunction with the agency’s demonstration of an automated shuttle bus for legislators.
“Automated vehicle technology is rapidly advancing in Minnesota and around the world,” said Governor Dayton. “This new Advisory Council will help ensure that Minnesota is well-positioned to put this technology to work for the best interests of Minnesotans. I thank Charlie Zelle and Christopher Clark for leading this important new chapter in the development of our transportation future.”
MnDOT began testing the use of an automated shuttle bus in 2017 at MnROAD, MnDOT’s pavement research facility near Albertville. Testing included how the bus operated in snow and ice conditions, at low temperatures and on roads where salt is used. The bus recently provided rides to 1,300 people on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis during Super Bowl 52 week.
Zelle will co-chair the advisory council with Christopher Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The council will consist of 15 appointees with relevant experience in finance, transit, higher education, workforce training, insurance, automotive industry, advocacy, freight, labor and public safety.
Ten ex-officio members from various governmental agencies, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, Minnesota Information Technology Services, the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Council on Disability will also serve on the council.The council will submit its recommendations to the governor and legislature by Dec. 1, 2018.
The executive order also directs MnDOT, the Department of Public Safety and other agencies to establish pilot programs for development and testing of automated and connected vehicles technology and to support safe and effective testing and use in real-life situations to meet industry needs.
The executive order formally establishes an Interagency Automated and Connected Vehicles Team to ensure interagency coordination, develop cross agency policies and programs, and prepare the state for safe testing and adoption of automated vehicles.