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.

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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TRC Inc. exploits its VDA

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Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) has hosted two events on its Vehicle Dynamics Area this fall which have helped hone the relationship between TRC Inc. and The Ohio State University (OSU). The two events were OSU Board Member Family Fun Day and an OSU Visit consisting of the Dean’s External Advisory Board and key Engineering faculty.
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OSU Job Shadow Day

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On Friday, March 18, 2016, Transportation Research Center (TRC Inc.) hosted approximately 25 engineering students from OSU for a Job Shadow Day. The Job Shadow Program through OSU gives students an opportunity to take one day out of their spring break to spend time at an employer’s site to observe engineers and learn more about professional roles in the engineering field. In return, TRC Inc. has the opportunity to promote its organization and introduce the TRC Inc. Internship Program to young and upcoming professionals.

The day began with an overview of the organization, which Mark-Tami Hotta, TRC Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, and Tim Leckey, Chief Marketing Officer, presented to the group. After the students were given time enough to ask questions, everyone set off for a tour of the outdoor facilities, which almost all of the students were seeing for the first time.
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Fly onto TRC

Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) facilities team maintains many testing surfaces for various types of vehicles, ranging from scooters to semi-trucks and trailers. Therefore, many TRC surfaces are multi-purpose, such as the Skid Pad, which serves not only as a testing surface, but as a landing pad for small aircrafts.

Approximately every five years, TRC Inc. updates a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) form to maintain the Skid Pad’s status as a landing strip on the FAA Detroit Sectional Aeronautical Chart. This Sectional Aeronautical Chart is available to all pilots as the primary navigational reference medium used by the pilot community.

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Wet Handling Course Improvements

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Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC Inc.) has taken advantage of the late arrival of winter, installing new “wet handling” asphalt on portions of its Winding Road Course (WRC).

TRC Inc. worked closely with its engineering and construction firms to develop a pavement mix design that would meet its friction* target. The mixture also needed to provide a durable testing surface which will hold up in Ohio’s climate for a long period of time.

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