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Auburn opens driverless vehicle research facility

Auburn University announced Tuesday that its new autonomous vehicle research facility has begun operations and is set to provide valuable data for the future of automated transport.

The facility will be an outpost of Auburn’s nationally known GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (GAVLAB), a project of the university’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Comprised a garage with multiple bays and lifts, office space for researchers, a conference room, and an observation area, the new facility overlooks a 1.7-mile oval test track that is part of Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology. It will be able to house both commercial trucks and passenger vehicles.

“The fact that we have our own test track where we can run autonomous vehicles and autonomous testing attached to this facility I think is an unbelievably unique asset,” said David Bevly, a professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn and co-director of the GAVLAB.

Bevly has been the driving force behind GAVLAB since arriving on The Plains in 2001. The lab has worked in conjunction with the Department of Defense, the Federal Highway Administration and many private companies.

An estimate released last summer said the facility was expected to cost $800,000. It was designed by Chambless King Architects, a firm based in Montgomery.

“Auburn is a major player in transportation engineering research in the nation,” asserted Steve Taylor, associate dean for research at the university’s engineering college. “The GAVLAB and our other transportation engineering researchers have brought in nearly $50 million in sponsored research awards over the past three years. This new facility is an exciting development for Auburn, and there will be much more to come.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: [email protected] or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

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