The Texas A&M University System has signed a five-year master agreement with 3M that expands on a decades-long partnership between 3M and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to develop roadway signage and pavement marking technologies.
The master agreement, which came about as a result of the availability of transportation testing facilities and expertise located at the A&M System’s RELLIS Campus, will provide for projects that can be awarded by 3M for various A&M System research, training and technical assistance.
The two projects initially under way through the agreement are being conducted at TTI. One project is the development of roadway signage technology that communicates important infrastructure information to drivers in order to operate safely and dependably on U.S. roadways. The second project is evaluating new innovative pavement marking technologies that can be read in wet road conditions by machine vision systems that are being installed in CAVs. Both projects are necessary for the eventual deployment of driverless vehicles on our roadways in the years to come.
“3M Connected Roads is working to develop smarter infrastructure that promotes connectivity, communications, and ultimately, safety,” said Andrew Dubner, Ph.D., 3M Connected Roads Program Manager. “This partnership with TTI at RELLIS Campus will help to facilitate the long-term transition to a connected infrastructure, enabling connected and automated vehicles to be more effective and much safer.”
“Over many years, TTI and 3M have worked together to develop the next generation of road signage and pavement marking technologies,” said Paul Carlson, P.E., Ph.D. senior research engineer and a national roadway visibility expert. “This master agreement expands on TTI’s partnership and validates the significance of the redevelopment of the A&M System’s RELLIS Campus, which is a unique facility that allows us to configure different testing scenarios to develop future transportation technologies.”
The RELLIS Campus is on track to be a premier, high-tech research, technology development and education campus. The RELLIS Campus includes multimillion-dollar state and national research facilities, test beds and proving grounds that primarily focus on robotics, driverless and connected vehicles, advanced manufacturing, large-scale testing, as well as smart power grids and water systems. The RELLIS Campus will also include education facilities that will offer two- and four-year degree programs beginning in fall 2018.
“We are very excited about our growing and valuable partnership between the A&M System and 3M,” said Associate Vice Chancellor and RELLIS Campus Director John Barton, P.E. “The RELLIS Campus’ testbeds and proving grounds are the perfect place for the development of transformational technologies like these and we are proud that 3M has chosen us as their partner on these important projects.”