Testing autonomous vehicles (AV) and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features under development is important for advancing traffic safety and increasing mobility options.
GoMentum Station is the nation’s largest dedicated secure testing facility for connected and automated vehicle technology. The facility, located 35 miles from San Francisco in Concord, Calif., is owned and operated by AAA Northern California. AAA Northern California operates the proving ground to assist members and the public in adapting to the fast-changing mobility landscape, while continuing to focus on roadway safety.
Velodyne has used GoMentum Station to test Vella, our breakthrough software for ADAS based on a range of our sensors, including the solid-state Velarray H800 and surround-view Ultra Puck. Proprietary testing has indicated superiority of the Vella solution for ADAS where a traditional camera and radar system failed. Test results are documented in a Velodyne white paper on how the Vella solution can improve Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB).
To learn about GoMentum Station and how it is helping to shape the next generation of transportation, we connected with Atul Acharya, their Director of Autonomous Vehicles Strategy & Operations.
Atul: GoMentum Station is a 2,100-acre closed-course test and research facility for connected and automated vehicles located in the Bay Area. Our customers use GoMentum Station to test their highly automated and connected vehicles in a variety of environments to ensure the safety of their technology. That said, it is much more than a test track. It is a comprehensive ecosystem bringing together the public and private sectors to collaborate on testing and deployment of technologies in various programs to benefit communities in the Bay Area and beyond.
Atul: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah was founded more than 100 years ago with a commitment to helping the motoring public travel safely on our roads. We remain committed to that vision today. With 94 percent of the motor vehicle crashes related to human error, we believe ADAS and AV technology have the potential to save millions of lives. However, we need to ensure the technology is tested and proven safe before it is deployed on public roads.
Atul: At GoMentum Station we want to replicate a real-world environment in a safe and private setting where pedestrians, other drivers and the general public are not at risk. We have over 19 miles of roadways available with features including:
Atul: By testing at GoMentum Station, technology leaders like Velodyne not only get immediate access to a world-class facility, but also engage meaningfully with other industry leaders and public agencies. Some of the research at GoMentum Station includes U.S. Department of Transportation funded projects for demonstrating the benefits of automated driving systems (ADS) via deployments of AV shuttles at first- and last-mile transit needs; reducing congestion on highways via on-demand mobility services; and testing connected vehicles. With our parent organization, the AAA National Office, we worked to evaluate the safety of ADAS-equipped vehicles, a project that is highly relevant for vehicles on the streets today.
Similarly, we at GoMentum Station have taken a lead on researching automated vehicle safety metrics. These projects involve multiple partners, and we welcome participation from technology leaders like Velodyne who are pioneering advances in transportation safety.
Atul: Yes, we have a variety of partners ranging from component makers to traditional OEMs to full AV stack developers from all over the globe. In addition, we collaborate with leading academic and research institutions like the University of Berkeley and University of Waterloo. On policy initiatives, we partner with organizations like RAND and the World Economic Forum who work on and set the strategic policy agenda for governments at all levels, local, state and federal. We are also engaged with various automotive standards setting bodies, such as the SAE and UL.
By collaborating with these forward-thinking and innovative organizations, we’re giving our Members a voice, engaging in projects relating to transportation safety, safety metrics, standardizing AV safety, enabling greater transparency on AV policy initiatives, public demonstrations of ADS and the like. These projects give us a greater understanding of AV deployments in several geographic regions, policy initiatives at state and international level, and technology adoption. Many international rules and requirements, such as the EuroNCAP, have a strong influence on domestic initiatives, hence it is important to be connected with these efforts.
Atul: All of our initiatives are focused on transportation safety and enhanced mobility. We see opportunity in providing greater mobility access for all – including seniors, children, economically disadvantaged and people with disabilities. We are engaged in projects on safety quantification and standardization, especially when it comes to testing automated vehicles, which means better overall safety when these highly automated vehicles are tested and eventually deployed. We are also seeing a greater focus on safety in partial automation (i.e., ADAS equipped vehicles) and education efforts to share the benefits of the technology to our Members and consumers.
All of these initiatives mean we, together in the GoMentum Station ecosystem, are working towards a more safe transportation network and safer automated vehicles for the community at-large.
For more information on GoMentum Station and the mobility research conducted there, visit their website.