IDOT grant funds driving ICT's autonomous vehicle plans

1/8/2021 Emily Jankauski

A rendering of the proposed Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track in Rantoul, Ill.
A rendering of the proposed Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track in Rantoul, Ill.

Illinois Center for Transportation has been awarded a grant to launch its planning efforts for the conceptualization of the Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track in Rantoul, Illinois.

That’s all thanks to Illinois Department of Transportation Bureau of Planning’s Long-range Transportation Plan, which awarded $38 million of support to 52 grant applicants for their planning efforts concerning long-range transportation projects across the state in July 2020.

ICT researchers hit the ground running beginning efforts Jan. 1 with their three-objective project, known as “Planning for Emerging Mobility: Testing and Deployment in Illinois.”

Here researchers will create a 5G integration plan as well as a sensor feasibility study. These efforts will help in the development and management of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.

Identification of key features for the track’s multimodal services will also be top of mind for the researchers as they consider the movement of people and goods.

Electrification efforts will provide and optimize electric vehicle charging options as well as energy harvesting.

A comprehensive business plan will also be developed, detailing future partnerships and providing a scope of I-ACT’s economic impacts.

Researchers include University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Imad Al-Qadi, who will serve as principal investigator, and Ghassan Chehab, Eleftheria Kontou, Angeli Jayme, Lewis Lehe and Yanfeng Ouyang — all of whom will serve as co-principal investigators. Gies College of Business’ Noah Isserman will also serve as a co-principal investigator.

Anticipation for project completion is Dec. 31, 2021.