Posts by Anne Deekens:
National study finds comprehensive approach needed to improve commercial motor carrier safety performance
Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to Share Naturalistic Study with Autonomous Vehicle Developers
Automotive leaders can leverage top Virginia Tech student talent and facilities for advanced-vehicle R&D
Driving researchers and practitioners worldwide recently gathered in Blacksburg, Va., for the Fifth International Symposium on Naturalistic Driving Research, hosted by the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
“This year’s symposium was our most successful one yet,” said Myra Blanco, director of the institute’s Center for Public Policy, Partnerships, and Outreach. “We hosted presenters and attendees from nine countries and were fortunate to have Ron Medford from X [formerly GoogleX] and Bruce Simons-Morton from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as keynote speakers.”
The symposium provided researchers and practitioners with an overview of international naturalistic driving studies, a method designed to track driver behavior in real-time. Panelists discussed their research findings from a variety of vehicle types and driver demographics, including automated and connected vehicles, teen drivers, and motorcycles. Guests also interacted with panelists to discuss naturalistic driving in their respective countries and gained insight into the next generation of naturalistic driving studies.
The symposium was followed by a motorcycle research and technology workshop and a seminar focused on women in transportation, for which Deborah Hersman of the National Safety Council and Ann Brach of the Transportation Research Board both served as keynote speakers. Blanco noted that the motorcycle workshop and women in transportation seminar, both in their inaugural year, gave students an exclusive chance to engage with industry professionals.
“The Motorcycle Research and Technology Workshop and the Women in Transportation Seminar were first-ever events that brought together leaders in their fields and provided unique opportunities for professionals and students to advance their knowledge of these industries,” said Blanco.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute would like to thank the following conference sponsors for their support.
Naturalistic Driving Research Symposium Sponsors:
Motorcycle Research and Technology Workshop Sponsors:
Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Women in Transportation Seminar Sponsor:
Sen. Mark Warner visits Virginia-based tire and vehicle testing center; praises it as an economic leader
As U.S. Sen. Mark Warner discovered this week, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute-affiliated Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation is driving the latest advancements in tire and vehicle testing, modeling, and simulation for the next generation of vehicles.
On August 16, Warner visited the center to get a first-hand look at its endeavors in enhancing tire and vehicle design and its economic impact on the Southern Virginia region. He also discussed automated-vehicle research performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, going for a spin around the Virginia International Raceway in an institute-owned semi-automated Tesla Model S.
“I think what we’re looking at here between GCAPS [the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation], Virginia Tech, and VIR is actually the future of driving,” said Warner after completing the test run in the Tesla. The senator has been an avid supporter of research and investment in unmanned systems.
The Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation, a collaborative effort led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, provides advanced tire research, vehicle simulation, and mathematical modeling for virtual vehicle and tire designs. By driving and braking tires under a variety of simulated conditions in a controlled environment, for instance, center engineers can put realistic forces on tires up to speeds of 200 miles an hour. The center also works with other centers at the institute to model automated cars of the future.
During his visit, Warner also received an update about the center’s current and potential economic impact in the Commonwealth, with the center expected to bring in $147 million into the Southern Virginia region during its first 10 years of operation and 183 jobs by 2020. To date, the center has attracted more than 30 global customers to the area. Automated-vehicle research initiatives, according to Warner, has the potential to further propel economic development in Virginia.
“Around $20 billion is going to be spent by the manufacturers on testing over the next five years,” Warner explained during his tour. “We want a lot of that testing and those jobs to be done right here in Virginia. We have the chance to be the Silicon Valley of unmanned vehicles.”
“Sen. Warner, Gov. McAuliffe and other Virginia legislators have been strong proponents of creating a regulatory environment that is second to none to test concepts, prototypes, pre-production and production vehicles to help the industry build the most dynamic, cutting-edge, and safe vehicles around,” said Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “Performing automated-vehicle research with the support of our state and federal government delegation really gives us the flexibility to evolve to meet industry needs.”
Sen. Warner visited the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation as part of a four-day tour throughout the Commonwealth to discuss ideas to enhance Virginia’s economy, tourism, and care for veterans.