MnDOT CAV Challenge wins top award

Minnesotans with disabilities who are interested in self-driving vehicles will be pleased to learn that the state has won national […]

Minnesotans with disabilities who are interested in self-driving vehicles will be pleased to learn that the state has won national honors for its efforts toward transportation solutions. The National Association of State Procurement Officials awarded its Cronin Award to the Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of State Procurement and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for their new and innovative procurement process for connected and automated vehicle technology.

Automated vehicles use technology to steer, accelerate, and brake with little to no human input. Connected vehicles use technology to either communicate with each other, connect with traffic signals, signs, and other road items, or obtain data from a cloud. This information exchange will help with safety and improve traffic flow.

The award winning Connected and Automatic Vehicle (CAV) Challenge streamlines the procurement process and allows vendors to easily submit the rapidly-evolving technologies associated with CAV. The new and innovative process ensures MnDOT can be a leader in testing and trying out the latest CAV technology.

“The CAV Challenge is a true collaboration amongst state agencies and is a model for other public organizations in the state,” noted Kristin White, Executive Director of MnDOT’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV-X). “By promoting these types of creative programs, the state is showing that through strategic problem-solving, we can be responsive to the public’s needs, industry priorities and truly promote a safer and more equitable transportation system.”

The new and flexible CAV Challenge preserves the values of fair and open competition in the procurement process while fostering innovation as MnDOT procures CAV technology. The process is open for vendors to apply anytime and proposals are reviewed every month, removing many barriers in the process for vendors and state agencies.

“Collaborating with our partners and understanding their goals helps Admin develop creative solutions that help make our agency partners successful,” said Minnesota Department of Administration Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis. “The CAV challenge allows us to rapidly adapt to changing technology while preserving the oversight and integrity Minnesotans expect in state purchasing.”

The Cronin Award recognizes outstanding state procurement initiatives that are innovative, reduce costs, promote continuous improvement, and can be used by other states or organizations. Cronin awardees and finalists share best practices and resources to improve contracting nationwide, promote public trust, cost savings, and collaboration. To learn more about the Minnesota’s CAV program and benefits of the emerging technology: www.dot.state. mn.us/automated/