Innovation Day 10/8/20

ND DOT Unveils North Dakota’s First Autonomous Truck

On Thursday, Oct. 8, North Dakota Department of Transportation demonstrated its first autonomous impact protection vehicle at Grand Farm. This autonomous vehicle is meant to improve safety in work zones by removing the driver from the impact protection vehicle. These impact protections vehicles are designed to protect road construction crews from distracted motorists.

“This is a great day for North Dakota to showcase its commitment to innovation,” said NDDOT Director Bill Panos. “This technology is one more tool that we will have available to enhance the safety of work zones in our state.”

Panos was joined by Senator John Hoeven, Emerging Prairie Executive Director Greg Tehven, Vice President of Business Development at Kratos Defense (developer of the autonomous technology) Maynard Factor and Senator Kevin Cramer’s office to unveil the new truck. Senator Hoeven took the ceremonial ride in the truck. 

To illustrate the importance of this truck, last year, there were 261 work zone related crashes on North Dakota highways, which resulted in 64 injuries and two fatalities. The upgrade was made possible by a $241,687 grant from the Federal Highway Administration through its Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) program this past January.


Innovation Day on Autonomous Systems Policy

Later on that morning, Grand Farm hosted an Innovation Day on Autonomous Systems Policy. The objective of the event was to connect the autonomous industry and the policymakers in order to make North Dakota the most autonomous-friendly event and featured four different panels. 


Nick Flom - Executive Director at Northern Plains UAS Test Site

Cindy Schreiber-Beck - ND House of Representatives

Bill Panos - Director of ND Department of Transportation

Joel Paulsen - Executive Director of FM Diversion

John Hoeven - U.S. Senator


Mayor Tim Mahoney - City of Fargo

Joel Honeyman - Vice President of Global Innovation at Doosan Bobcat

Tommy Kenville - President of iSight

Terri Zimmerman - CEO at Packet Digital and Botlink

Maynard Factor - Vice President of Business Development at Kratos Defense 


Facilitator: Mark Hagerott - ND University Systems Chancellor

Mark Askelson - Executive Director of Research Institute for Autonomous Systems at UND

Jane Schuh - Vice President For Research and Creative Activity at NDSU

Frank Casey - Director, School of Natural Resource Sciences at NDSU

John Mihelich - Interim Vice President for Research & Economic Development at UND