Auburn marks debut of autonomous vehicle research facility

National Center for Asphalt Technology test track — one of the few facilities of its kind attached to a test track

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AuburnAuburn University has inaugurated a sophisticated new autonomous vehicle research facility.

Located at Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology test track, it is said to be one of the few facilities of its kind in the nation attached to a test track.

The new facility is expected to help researchers in Auburn University’s GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory, whose work is frequently conducted outdoors.

It offers a garage with multiple bays and lifts for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, office space for researchers, a conference room and an observation area overlooking NCAT’s 1.7-mile oval test track.

David Bevly, the Bill and Lana McNair Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the GAVLAB along with assistant research professor Scott Martin, said, “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.”

Autonomous vehicle navigation

Ever since Bevly joined the Auburn Engineering faculty in 2001, the GAVLAB has built a strong reputation in autonomous vehicle navigation and developed a broad sponsored research portfolio.

The projects range from the Department of Defense and the Federal Highway Administration to many private industry partners.

As many sponsors visit each month, the facility’s planned observation area gives the GAVLAB team a high-quality space to demonstrate its research.

Bevly’s group has also done demonstrations for legislators and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

(With inputs from Automotive Lead Research Team)

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