Meeting the “Badger”

On April the 1st, 6 members of our CAVH group along with two staff members: Dr. Steven Parker and Steve Rau of the UW Madison Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Laboratory, went on a trip to the city of Racine, Wisconsin, to meet the “Badger.” The Badger is the new autonomous shuttle that represents the culmination of and the new level of many years of research in the TOPS lab.

the TOPS Lab have researched connected and automated vehicles for years, and the Badger is the first application of autonomous vehicle in Wisconsin. The Badger is a level 4 autonomous vehicle based on the SAE’s international vehicle automation scale. A Level 4 vehicle like the Badger has a very high degree of driving automation features, but should still have a human driver behind the wheel ready to take over in certain circumstances.

In the morning, our CAVH group test drove the Badger for the first time going down the main road around the Gateway Technical College, where the Badger and one of the TOPS lab locate. Students also learned how to generate and extract data from the database so that those can be used later for the purpose of research. In the afternoon, our group drove the Badger once again but with different kinds of obstacles being placed on the road to purposely test how well the Badger can handle obstacles.

In the future, we are hoping to touch on other research areas with the Badger, including how the autonomous vehicles interact with other autonomous vehicles or interact with connected infrastructure on the roadways. Overall, we gained a lot from the trip and it was exciting that our CAVH group is participating in this huge step toward changing the future of transportation. Please stay tuned for more related research projects from our group.