Newly awarded I-ACT proposals


Illinois Center for Transportation is pleased to announce four projects were awarded on April 27.

The projects focus on developing and exploring research ideas for the Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track, ICT’s proposed autonomous and connected vehicle track in Rantoul, Illinois.

AECOM is finalizing the conceptual plans for I-ACT and will release a conceptual video soon. A preliminary video of the track is available here.

The projects will engage disciplines and departments across campus, contribute to innovative ideas explored at ICT, develop cutting-edge research in mobility connectivity and autonomy, and prepare and submit research proposals for external funding to support I-ACT.

Led by University of Illinois professors, the newly awarded projects will begin in Fall 2022 and are listed as follows:

AVOps: Continuous Integration and Deployment Infrastructure for Rapid Testing of Autonomous Transportation Systems

Sayan Mitra and Katherine Driggs-Campbell, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
This project aims to develop and deploy a continuous integration and deployment process for autonomy software. This process will enable researchers to remotely deploy their code on actual autonomous/semi-autonomous vehicle platforms at I-ACT, run experiments, pipe-in data from the experiments and help create advanced digital twins and driver models for I-ACT from the field data. Successful completion of the project will advance the state of the art in software engineering for autonomous vehicles and position the team favorably for state and federal funding programs related to education and research in autonomy, machine learning, standards development and transportation safety.

The Impact of Driverless Trucks on National- and State-level Trade and Welfare

Sandy Dall’erba, Yilan Xu and William Ridley, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
The introduction of connected and autonomous trucks is expected to reduce transportation costs by dramatically reducing labor expenses, impacting the U.S. interstate trade landscape. This project aims to determine the extent to which each individual state will benefit from the I-ACT technological revolution. The results will help inform policymakers, the transportation industry and stakeholders in allied sectors about the anticipated economic impacts of I-ACT and connected and autonomous truck technology.

Feasibility Study and Conceptual Design of a Multi-Hazard Environmental Test Facility

Frank Lombardo, Jinhui Yan and Hadi Meidani, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The goal of this project is to pave a path for a multi-hazards environmental testing facility for I-ACT. This facility will consist of integrated lab and field experimentation as well as multi-physics simulations to enable hybrid simulations and testing in coupled environmental loading conditions that transportation infrastructure inevitably faces in real operation. The researchers will use the project’s results to build a team across multiple UIUC departments to develop a multi-million-dollar National Science Foundation mid-scale research infrastructure proposal for the proposed facility.

Development of Embedded Energy-Harvesting Modules in Flexible Pavements

Angeli Jayme, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dynamic motions of traffic fleets can be harnessed to accumulate energy that will power roadside electrical components, including LED light poles, camera, and infrastructure-to-vehicle communication devices. This study will design and test an embedded energy harvester prototype, excited by deflection and cycles of traffic movement, in both small-scale controlled environment and field conditions. The researchers will complete a feasibility study in scaling the prototype and analogous solutions to determine a scaling and implementation plan throughout I-ACT.