SMARTCenter Groundbreaking

Transportation Research Center, Inc. Breaks Ground on SMARTCenter

EAST LIBERTY, Ohio (Jul 9) – Alongside Ohio Governor John R. Kasich and senior state officials, Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.), the largest independent automotive proving ground in North America, broke ground today on the SMARTCenter ‒ a state-of-the-art automated and connected vehicle testing facility. The SMARTCenter is designed to test advanced automotive and mobility technologies in a safe, secure, and repeatable real-world environment before the vehicles are deployed on public roads and highways.

“Today’s groundbreaking for the SMARTCenter is the culmination of over five years of collaborative planning with our invaluable industry partners. The addition of the SMARTCenter to TRC Inc.’s already robust portfolio of offerings can only serve to benefit the dedicated group of stakeholders who are pioneering the next innovations in the connected and automated space. We’re proud to put shovels in the ground alongside Governor Kasich and officials from ODOT, DriveOhio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University to reinforce Ohio’s commitment to innovation – particularly in transportation technology,” said Brett Roubinek, President and CEO of TRC Inc.

The SMARTCenter is designed to provide a high degree of flexibility in replicating a variety of real-world scenarios for all types of passenger and commercial vehicles. When completed and supported by TRC Inc.’s service offerings, the SMARTCenter will be the largest, most comprehensive contained testing site for advanced vehicle technologies and feature:

  • the longest (1.2 miles) and widest (six lanes) connected, signalized intersection in the industry,
  • an urban network consisting of movable intersections, roundabouts, and oblique intersection scenarios,
  • a 10,000 square foot control building with garage and office space,
  • full site access to DSRC and high speed wireless communication,
  • and an underground power distribution and fiber network to support current and future test technologies.

“This is a giant step forward in making Ohio the go-to state for developing vehicles and smart transportation technologies of the future,” said Governor John R. Kasich. “The SMARTCenter positions Ohio as the premiere destination for researchers, developers, and manufacturers to test, build, and deploy advanced mobility solutions that will make our roads safer and less congested.”

Projected to take approximately 18 months, construction on the SMARTCenter is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Funding for the $45 million project is being provided by the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University.

SMARTCenter Facts:

  • $45 million total funding for Phase 1
  • Over 1.1 million square feet of pavement equaling 18.5 lane miles
  • Over 700,000 cubic yards – or 51,000 truckloads – of earth moved
  • More than 20,000 linear feet of underground conduits to distribute power and fiber optics throughout the site
  • The site detention ponds will hold roughly 450 million of gallons water, the equivalent of 681 Olympic sized swimming pools

About Transportation Research Center:
Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) provides a wide range of engineering, research and development, and compliance and certification testing for the mobility industry. With 40-plus years of engineering expertise and industry knowledge, TRC Inc. serves the needs of industries, governments, trade associations, and educational institutions worldwide. TRC Inc. is located on approximately 4,500 acres of land in East Liberty, OH, 40 miles northwest of Columbus, OH. TRC Inc. operates 24/7 with a variety of facilities including road courses, wooded trails, 7.5-mile High-speed Oval Test Track, and a 50-acre Vehicle Dynamics Area. On this expansive facility, TRC Inc. conducts programs designed to test for safety, energy, fuel economy, emissions, durability, performance, noise, crash simulation, and crash-worthiness. Programs evaluate performance of passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, airplanes, off-road, tracked, alternative-fueled vehicles, and their components.

Brett Roubinek

Roubinek to Lead Transportation Research Center

Chaired by College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams, the Board of Transportation Research Center Inc., has named Brett Roubinek as TRC’s new President and CEO. Roubinek has served as vice president at TRC since 2016.

TRC is an automotive proving ground located on 4,500 acres of land in East Liberty, Ohio, approximately 40 miles northwest of Columbus. Its connection to The Ohio State University dates back to 1962, when the College of Engineering established the facility to coordinate and encourage transportation-related academic and research programs.

“Brett has shown outstanding leadership and has played a key role in continuing to build TRC’s key relationships with NHTSA, Honda and Ohio State,” said Williams. “He is the right person to take the reins as we seek to create the nation’s largest and most advanced vehicle testing and research center and help the transportation industry navigate the path to autonomy.”

Roubinek is a seasoned executive with a history of success in growing businesses, leading people, forging relationships and fostering innovation across the automotive ecosystem. A central Ohio native, Roubinek’s diverse experience—from performance driving for multiple OEMs to launching a start-up company—will help guide TRC’s growth and collaborations with Ohio State as well as local and federal government partners. Upon joining TRC in March 2016, Roubinek undertook daily operations, including facility expansion planning and execution.

Last January, Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and Gov. John Kasich announced a $45 million commitment to expand TRC’s autonomous vehicle capabilities. In addition to the university and state funding, the College of Engineering committed $24 million over five years to hire faculty and staff to support research into autonomous technology. In October, the new 15,240-square-foot James A. Rhodes Conference Center opened on TRC’s campus.

“With TRC approaching its second half century in operation, I look forward to continuing the collaboration with partners and stakeholders as Central Ohio embraces the possibilities of automated and connected transportation technologies,” said Roubinek.

“TRC enjoys a rich heritage as the leading independent proving ground in North America, and today we are innovating at the forefront of mobility. I am proud to serve alongside incredibly dedicated associates who deliver unparalleled service and thought leadership to our diverse, and growing, roster of valued clients, pushing TRC to new horizons every day.”

Prior to joining TRC, Roubinek served as a senior executive with the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, CSM, iRacing.com and the Skip Barber Racing School, among several other industry roles. He has shared his expertise with national and international audiences as a guest commentator on major television networks, as a contributing writer Car & Driver and other publications, and as a speaker at the New York Auto Show and PRI Trade Show. Additionally, Roubinek has over 25 years of on-track experience as a professional racecar driver and driving instructor.

A graduate of Denison University, Roubinek serves on the Board of the Ohio Smart Mobility Initiative and the Smart Belt Coalition.

(via engineering.osu.edu)

Credit: YouTube via wksu.org

Governor Kasich praised Ohio’s Transportation Research Center in State of State address this week for work in research and development of highly automated cars

John R. Kasich emphasized his commitment to transportation research and development, and encouraged Ohio’s citizens to embrace new technologies, during the State of the State address this week – where he talked about Ohio’s investment in highway repairs and improvements, the Smart City initiative and the work being done at the Transportation Research Center.

Here’s an excerpt from Kasich’s speech:

“Here’s something most of you don’t know. We have the Transportation Research Center in central Ohio. It’s the most advanced independent automotive testing facility on the continent. And our capital city beat out all the others to be the hub for intelligent transportation through the Smart City initiative helping us move Ohio into the pole position for the future of smart mobility.

“We also rank high among all the states for the quality and maintenance of our highway infrastructure. You saw Mr. Szollosi talking about this. Many states have fallen behind in highway repairs and improvements. We have invested $14 billion on more than 7,000 projects since 2011. That doesn’t mean anything until you accept this.

(Applause)

“It’s an increase of more than $3 billion and nearly a third of what we might normally put into infrastructure. And this has made it possible for us to free up resources, take us to the next level with new investments in these smart highways. You put the fiber in the highways and autonomous vehicles get guided by the fiber we’re putting across the state, and then you have sensors so that the cars can talk to one another. We’re getting ahead. The Transportation Research Center is a little village, 4,500 acres where they can come and experiment and test with a test track. We’ve put money into that. So has Ohio State University. So has Honda. This is exciting. It’s the future. You ought to go there. We’ll get you a ticket to get entrance, if you want to go down there and take your kids. It’s cool to see…”

The governor announced in January that the state of Ohio, along with The Ohio State University, will provide $45 million in funding for the first phase of TRC’s SMART (Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test) Center – a new 540-acre facility to research, test and validate self-driving vehicles and connected infrastructure – roads, highways, intersections and traffic signals.

Click here for the official transcript from the governor’s speech:
http://governor.ohio.gov/MediaRoom/PressReleases/TabId/200/ArticleId/657/governor-kasichs-state-of-the-state-address-2017.aspx

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Photo credit: YouTube via wksu.org

Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) announces all-new Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test Center with $45 million new infrastructure expansion to test connected and driverless vehicles for the future mobility of people and goods

Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced that the State of Ohio and the Ohio State University are funding the $45 million Phase 1 expansion of the Transportation Research Center’s (TRC) all-new 540-acre SMART (Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test) Center – a state-of-the-art hub for automated and autonomous testing, to be built within the 4,500 acres of the nation’s largest independent automotive proving grounds.

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TRC SMART Center Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) announces all-new Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test Center with $45 million new infrastructure expansion to test connected and driverless vehicles for the future mobility of people and goods

East Liberty, OHIO — Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced today that the State of Ohio and the Ohio State University are funding the $45 million Phase 1 expansion of the Transportation Research Center’s (TRC) all-new 540-acre SMART (Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test) Center – a state-of-the-art hub for automated and autonomous testing, to be built within the 4,500 acres of the nation’s largest independent automotive proving grounds.

“Thanks to the support of the state of Ohio, Ohio Department of Transportation, JobsOhio and The Ohio State University, the SMART Center expansion provides the capabilities, facilities and support to enable the development of future automated vehicles,” said Mark-Tami Hotta, CEO, TRC Inc. “TRC’s SMART Center is designed to test new technologies and highly automated vehicles in a closed, safe, secure and repeatable real world environment, before the vehicles are deployed on public roads and highways.

“Smart mobility, with connected vehicles and enhanced infrastructures, offers greater accessibility and mobility options, reduced road congestion and more efficient use of natural resources,” said Hotta.

Phase 1 of the expansion will include a flexible platform and infrastructure; the industry’s largest high-speed intersection; the industry’s longest and most flexible test platform (a space the width of more than 50 highway lanes and the length of 10 football fields end-to-end); an urban network of intersections, roundabouts, traffic signals; a rural network including wooded roads, neighborhood network and a SMART Center support building.

“There’s been an explosion of demand for active safety and autonomous testing around the world, and TRC’s SMART Center is committed to providing a comprehensive solution to that demand,” said Hotta “As the largest independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in North America, with more than 1,000 customers worldwide, we’re experts in testing and validating vehicles. We want to provide the industry and government regulatory agencies every test and infrastructure needed to make automated and autonomous vehicles safe for public roads, as we have been doing for the last 40 years.”

“We have visited virtually every other active safety and autonomous vehicle test facility around the world, talked with dozens of customers, and are partnering with many others in this space so that we can best serve the needs of everyone regarding creating safer vehicles, safer drivers, and safer roads,” Hotta added.

TRC has been testing different types of vehicles – cars, trucks, buses, ATVs, military vehicles and virtually every kind of specialty vehicle – and components on its 4,500-acre facility in East Liberty, Ohio for more than 40 years, including testing automated and autonomous vehicles over the last two decades. According to Hotta, there are three main reasons to expand on TRC’s proving grounds and the establishment of the SMART Center:

First, to support Columbus’s $140 million US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City project. TRC provides a convenient location to safely test new technologies before their use on city streets and highways.

Second, TRC is the home of the only federal vehicle research and test laboratory for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA issued its first directives on autonomous vehicle operation last September, and will need more track time to develop further guidelines for the industry.

Third, TRC’s SMART Center is designed to enable car manufacturers and suppliers to expand their automated and autonomous testing where the guidelines are being developed.

TRC’s SMART Center will be the only independent facility of its kind that is a part of a comprehensive one-stop test facility all vehicle test and development can be efficiently performed at one location.

Funding efforts are underway for Phases 2 and 3 of the SMART Center expansion. Phase 2 will focus on the world’s first indoor test facility, which will allow for severe weather conditions, such as snow, ice, fog and freezing rain, to be available on-demand, year-round, to enable rigorous testing of highly automated vehicles
in severe operating conditions. Phase 3 will include a six-lane high-speed highway, with on and off ramps and underpasses, to support the testing of vehicle swarming and truck platooning.

For more information about the Transportation Research Center (TRC), visit the website at www.trcpg.com.

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The Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) is the leading independent automotive testing facility and proving grounds in the U.S., specializing in research and vehicle testing. On 4,500 acres of land and strategically placed approximately 40 miles outside of Columbus, Ohio, TRC Inc. operates 24/7, conducting brake, crashworthiness, durability, fuel economy, emissions, handling, and performance testing, and ensures the highest level of safety and security for its multiple customers. TRC Inc.’s experts collaborate with industry partners, such as The Ohio State University, to develop future mobility solutions for passenger and commercial vehicles, including autonomous and active safety technologies. As a multi-user facility, the TRC Inc. team focuses on the complex needs of its various domestic and international customers by providing mobility solutions to develop better vehicles, better drivers, and better roadways.

Download as PDF: TRC_SMART_Center_Announcement

TRC’s CEO talks to Paul W. Smith on Detroit’s biggest morning radio show – WJR

For Detroit’s morning commuters, one of the most popular radio talk shows is the Paul W. Smith Show on WJR. Mark-Tami Hotta, CEO, Transportation Research Center (TRC) had the opportunity sit and talk with the host on Thursday, Jan. 12, near the end of the industry days at the 2017 North American International Auto Show. Hotta touched on TRC’s place in the automotive industry, autonomous vehicle testing, and TRC’s future plans. Here’s a link to the 5:44 minute interview on WJR.

 

Audio courtesy of WJR AM 760 and the Paul W. Smith Show.

TRC at the North American International Auto Show’s AutoMobili-D

Representatives from the Transportation Research Center (TRC) and PMG Technologies will host a symposium entitled, The Regulatory and Market Requirements Maze: What Manufacturers need to know to get to market faster in North America on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. on the Atrium stage, and Thursday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. on the Planet M stage, as part of the AutoMobili-D exhibit at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

There will be a panel discussion about the complex regulations and market requirements relative to autonomous vehicles and technology OEMs need to follow to sell in the U.S. and Canada.

On the discussion panel: Mark-Tami Hotta, President and Chief Executive Officer, TRC Inc.; Jeff Sankey, Global Business Development Director, TRC Inc.; John Huang, Executive Director, Suzhou Starlit Technologies Co. Ltd.; Franck Bonny, General Manager, PMG Technologies Inc.; Claude Sauvageau, Director, Testing and Capital Projects, PMG Technologies Inc. and Carla Bailo, Assistant Vice President – Mobility Research and Business Development, The Ohio State University.

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3

Ohio State’s electric streamliner Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 achieves new international land speed record

Despite difficult track conditions for a third year in a row, Ohio State’s Venturi Buckeye Bullet team has successfully chased down yet another international record for electric land speed vehicles at Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah.

On Friday, August 21, 2015, professional driver Roger Schroer guided the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3) to an average two-way speed of 240.320 miles per hour (386.757 kilometers per hour). The new record set by the VBB-3 is pending certification by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the worldwide motorsports governing body, in Category A Group VIII Class 8. This is the second year the team has competed in this new competition category, which during similarly weather-challenged tests last year set a record in the same category at 212.615 mph (342.171 kph). The ultimate world record for electric vehicles, set by the Ohio State-Venturi team in 2010, is 307.6 mph (495 kph) in FIA’s Category A Group VIII Class 4.

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