digest | GoMentum Station: test track for high-tech autonomous vehicles

Global leading edge transport research.
December 10, 2018

video 1 | profile tour
The state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle test track.

about | Inside a secretive test track for self-driving cars. A former military weapons depot is now a track where companies can test their autonomous cars in private. The public has never set foot in the guarded Go-Mentum Station, until today.

The track is not only attracting the attention of auto-makers like Mercedes + Honda — but also tech companies like Google +  Apple. Host Brian Cooley shows us how Honda is testing its latest self-driving car at the track: for safety, speed, agility, responsiveness, handling — and all the unknown obstacles and new dangerous evolving from the new world of autonomous vehicles.

Transportation authorities around the world are visiting the track to craft city-scale driving protocols, safety measures, plus new road-side and pedestrian-side

descriptions from: cNet

video 2 | Honda
Test track partner Honda at Go-Mentum Station.

about  | The GoMentum Station test track contains 20 miles of city road grids. In this video, Honda researchers are testing automated driving technologies using modified versions of Honda’s vehicles from its Acura luxury sedan range.

descriptions from: Honda Research Institute

— about the test track for automated vehicles —

The design of GoMentum Station for connected + autonomous vehicles.

GoMentum Station contains 20 miles of paved city street grids, buildings and urban infrastructure. Located 30 miles north of San Francisco, California in the town of Concord — the proving ground has become a high-tech center of leading edge transportation research.

It’s the largest secure testing facility in the world for autonomous and connected vehicle technology — and features miles of paved roads. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority and its partners lead a collaborative effort at GoMentum Station, bringing together automobile manufacturers, communications companies, tech companies, researchers and public agencies to accelerate the next generation of transportation tech.

Special roadway features that make GoMentum Station perfect for testing.

  • realistic, rough road surfaces
  • pot-holes, cracked pavement
  • partial corners, hilly terrain
  • lane lines with faded paint
  • decrepit buildings made of crumbling + shabby materials
  • random structures + random plants
  • foggy climate to challenge visibility
  • roads that simulate: rural driving
  • roads that simulate: urban driving
  • roads that simulate: right-hand driving countries
  • roads that simulate: left-hand driving countries
  • 2,100 acre test city + 20 miles of roads
  • dozens of intersections

Special technology enables self-driving cars.

legend | for infographic

How a self-driving car functions:

no. 1  —  The lidar sensors bounce pulses of light off the surroundings. These are analyzed to identify lane markings and the edges of roads. Lidar is a technology that uses pulses of  light to make high-resolution 3D maps of objects and your environment.

no. 2  —  The video cameras detect traffic lights, read road signs, keep track of the position of other vehicles and look out for pedestrians + aniamls + obstacles on the road.

no. 3  —  The radar sensors monitor the position of other vehicles near-by. This kind of sensor is already used widely today in adaptive cruise-control systems.

no. 4  —  The information from all of the sensors is analyzed by a central computer —- that manipulates the steering, accelerator and brakes. Its software must understand the rules of the road, both formal + casual.

no. 5  —  The ultra-sonic sensors may be used to measure the position of objects very close to the vehicle, such as curbs and other vehicles when parking.

no. 6  —  A radar sensor. Radar is detection system that uses fast-moving radio waves, created by a transmitter and bounced off objects and structures in the environment. When the waves bounce off, they come back to the receiver — basically the same place they started.

A computer can look at the waves returning and paint a kind of picture of everything the waves touched. That gives you information about geography, the shape of structures, and the speed of moving objects.

no. 7  —  Signals from GPS — global positioning system — satellites are combined with readings from tachometers, altimeters, and gyroscopes to provide more accurate positioning than with only GPS.

— notes —

* lidar is a portmanteau of the words: light + radar
* radar = radio detection + ranging
* GPS = global positioning system

Testing the future of vehicles.

Now on the test track, Honda’s video shows researchers using the GoMentum facility to test automated driving tech, using modified versions of their Acura luxury sedan. Honda is GoMentum partner.

Honda’s new prototype sensors and cameras added to the vehicle will work hand-in-hand with its extensive array of forward, reverse, and corner sensors — that make-up a suite of AcuraWatch brand driver assist features on luxury sedans.

GoMentum Station is a center of leading edge transportation.

Formerly a US Navy weapons campus — 5,000 acre GoMentum Station proving ground is now the center of leading edge transportation research for connected vehicles + autonomous vehicles.

GoMentum Station is designing the next generation of public + private transportation, inventing ways we’ll move through our communities in 25 years. The urban format facility is a world-class test-bed. With cooperation from industry + government.

GoMentum Station | benefits
The global center for autonomous transport research.

  • a unique terrain
  • test self-driving features safely
  • test in conditions found on public streets
  • test vehicles: private, shared, commercial
  • test vehicles: connected applications + autonomous applications
  • companies can: investigate, design, test
  • governments + institutions can: access what’s happening
  • plan for: public policy, safety regulation, manufacturing guidelines, city systems, urban development
  • co-operate for: research, testing validation, commercialization, standards

GoMentum Station | co-operation
Partners in the future of mobility.


on the web | reading

Wired | As self-driving cars approach, the auto industry races to re-build
Time | Here’s where driver-less cars are learning the rules of the road

on the web | reading

Government Technology US Department of Transportation: 10 proving ground sites for testing autonomous vehicles
deck: They will share testing data + research in to advance driver-less vehicle technology.

Government Technology  |  Driving Autonomous Cars: off the beaten path
deck: 1/3 of our roads are unpaved, with faded marks — self-driving vehicles can’t go on them.
deck: We’ll need new algorithms to handle those conditions.

on the web | pages

GoMentum Station | home
GoMentum Station | home

Honda | home
Honda Research Institute | home

Contra Costa Transportation Authority | home
Contra Costa Transportation Authority | news

on the web | learning

Wikipedia | autonomous car
Wikipedia | vehicular automation

[ story file ]

story title: GoMentum Station: test track for high-tech autonomous vehicles
deck: Global leading edge transport research.
year: 2018
posted: by managing editor
section: the digest