Facilitating Safe and Productive Mobility
The Mobility Technology Laboratory focuses on developing innovative, user-centered technologies that improve the operational safety, mobility, and productivity of road users. Its research encompasses a wide range of applications from snowplow driver assist systems to pedestrian wayfinding for the visually impaired.
The laboratory is housed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus. The team is comprised of faculty, full-time research staff, and graduate students who all bring expertise in different engineering-centric skills. To round out project teams, projects are frequently collaborations with other researchers within the Department, across campus, and with industry partners. One frequent collaborator is the HumanFIRST Research Laboratory which is a group of human factors research specialists.
The lab carries out its mission by leveraging and integrating technologies such as GNSS, RADAR, LIDAR, actuators, and wireless communications. Researchers are capable of designing and implementing custom human interfaces across different devices including smartphones that can range from non-distracting driver assist systems to navigation aids for the visually impaired.
On-road and field work frequently take researchers outside of the laboratory for real-world applications such as system validation, user testing, and high-accuracy mapping. This can include the use of instrumented vehicles including passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, robot vehicle platforms as well as heavy vehicles such as snowplows and buses. When validation or user testing on public roads isn’t feasible, the lab can collaborate with partner facilities to use instrumented roadways and test tracks.