Photo courtesy of Auburn University
The GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (GAVLAB) at Auburn University is about to move indoors with the planned $800,000 addition of an autonomous vehicle research facility at Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) test track, officials said this week.
The sophisticated center will be a welcome addition to researchers’ ongoing work, much of which is done outdoors today. Plans call for 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. The project is sponsored by the university’s mechanical engineering department and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will become one of the few autonomous research facilities in the nation attached to a test track.
“The fact that we'll have our own test track where we can run autonomous vehicles and autonomous testing attached to this facility I think will be an unbelievably unique asset,” said 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.
GAVLAB has a nearly 20-year history in autonomous vehicle navigation research. Bevly joined the Auburn engineering faculty in 2001 and has since developed a research portfolio that includes projects with the Department of Defense and the Federal Highway Administration to many private industry partners. His group has also conducted demonstrations for legislators and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
“I think it will be a great facility for us as a team, but also to showcase our work,” Bevly also said.