  Ohio TRC is the home of NHTSA’s only federal vehicle test lab

like forward collision warning and autono- mous emergency braking systems, traffic alert systems, blind spot monitors, collision mitigating braking systems, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation systems, lane keeping assist systems to autopilot sys- tems and advanced sensors for self-driving cars,” he elucidates. “However, it is much more than just the technologies them- selves. We are also able to test the vehicles in diverse, extreme edge conditions that you would never want to experience on public roads before robust development in a controlled proving ground environment.”

THE TRIPLE EFFECT TRC has been testing different types of vehicles – cars, trucks, buses, ATVs, mili- tary 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 auto- mated 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 con- venient location to safely test new tech- nologies before their use on city streets and highways. “SMART Columbus will be deploying smart mobility technologies and solutions in four public areas: residen- tial, retail, commercial, and logisitics,” says Hotta. “All these zones have traditional non-automated vehicles, pedestrians,


“We are also able to test the vehicles in diverse, extreme edge conditions that you would never want to experience on public roads before robust development in a controlled proving ground environment”

children, animals etc. In order to safely deploy these SMART technologies and solutions on public roads, they first need to be developed and validated thoroughly in a safe, secure, and controlled environ- ment off of public roads. That is what TRC’s SMART Center will enable.” Second, TRC is the home of the only fed-

eral vehicle research and test laboratory for the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminis- tration (NHTSA). NHTSA issued its first direc- tives 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 inde-

pendent facility of its kind that is a part of a comprehensive one-stop test facility all vehicle test and development can be effi- ciently performed at one location. Fund- ing 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 freez- ing 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. Kenny McDonald, president and CEO

of Columbus 2020 (the economic devel- opment organization for the 11-county Columbus Region) adds, “The TRC has played an important role in advancing the automotive industry in the United States through its partnership with NITSA, OEMs, and suppliers for decades. “The investment in the SMART center

builds upon that tradition and will help accelerate both the research and the appli- cation of new mobility technologies on the streets and highways of America. The investments in the TRC also propel Ohio State, The State of Ohio, and The Columbus Region into the spotlight at an exciting era in the automotive industry.”

Mark-Tami Hotta is CEO of TRC, Inc in East Liberty, Ohio

Kenny McDonald is president and CEO of Columbus 2020

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