Company taking next steps to develop I-94 for autonomous vehicles

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Posted at 8:37 AM, Apr 27, 2022

(WXYZ) — A major highway in metro Detroit could be designed for autonomous vehicles, under a new plan announced today by a company called Cavnue.

According to Cavnue, plans for the first "CAV Corridor" are moving forward in metro Detroit. Working with MDOT, Canue said they identified a 25-mile segment of I-94 between Detroit and Ann Arbor that could serve as the first highway for autonomous vehicles.

“There is no denying, the future of vehicles is connected and automated,” Cavnue Co-Founer and CEO Tyler Duvall said in a statement. “A network of CAV lanes powered by an integrated hardware, software and advanced roadway operation solution can ensure that the future is safe and efficient.”

In 2020, the state announced plans for an autonomous vehicle corridor somewhere while working with Cavnue.

CAV lanes, according to the company, will provide a variety of benefits. The plan would be to have shuttles, that can bring people into areas, allow autonomous vehicles using the lanes to communicate with each other to move faster and more safely, but will also accommodate mixed traffic.

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Rendering shows what the interior of a Cavnue autonomous shuttle could look like.

Next, the company said it will work with MDOT to develop a work plan, which will include traffic studies, environmental analysis, road design, public engagement, public outreach and more.

If all goes well, Cavnue said the information they learn could also be used to deploy CAV lans on Michigan Ave. and "potentially grow a network of CAV corridors connecting Southeast Michigan."

The company, which has employees in Washington D.C., Detroit and Mountain View, Cali., also announced they have raised $130 million of Series A capital investment, led by Ford Motor Company and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partnerships (SIP).

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Rendering shows Cavnue's CAV lane, which could be coming to I-94 between Detroit and Ann Arbor in the future.

“This strategic capital, from a diverse range of strategic partners, will allow Cavnue to scale its technology platform alongside strong government and industry partners. Cavnue’s transformative technology solution is agnostic among carmakers and locations and it will be the foundation for a nationwide network of connected autonomous vehicles,” said Jonathan Winer, co-founder and co-CEO of SIP.

“At Ford, we are helping build a future of transportation that is safe, connected, sustainable and obtainable for all. That vision goes well beyond vehicles – and includes building an always-on relationship with our customers and delivering an ever-improving user experience,” said Franck Louis-Victor, vice president, New Businesses, Ford Next LLC. “Cavnue’s mission to build the world’s most advanced roads aligns with that vision and has the potential to help accelerate the pace at which we can advance driver assistance features and safely deploy autonomous vehicles.”

With the investment, Cavnue will use Ford vehicles and the company's hands-free driving technology to show on Cavnue's smart road platform can enhance vehicle performance.