Facility to lead in autonomous vehicle innovation, breaks ground - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Facility to lead in autonomous vehicle innovation, breaks ground

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On Monday, the organization broke ground on phase one of their SMARTCenter. On Monday, the organization broke ground on phase one of their SMARTCenter.
Phase one includes a high-speed six-lane wide, 1.2 miles stretch of road with an intersection in the middle. Phase one includes a high-speed six-lane wide, 1.2 miles stretch of road with an intersection in the middle.
The total cost of phase one will be $45 million. The total cost of phase one will be $45 million.

Ohio will be put on the fast track to autonomous vehicle testing and development in part to the new facility planned at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty. On Monday, the organization broke ground on phase one of their SMARTCenter. A facility for clients to test automated and connected vehicles.

This comes on the heels of an executive order from Governor John Kasich encouraging more autonomous vehicle testing with safety as a primary focus.

"I think that the moves that have been made in the state of Ohio over the last six months have been very well thought out, very well planned and set us up to be the leader in transportation as we move forward," said Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC. "We have not only the season-ability but also the technology is there and the cooperative environment is there that welcomes these companies in."

Phase one includes a high-speed six-lane wide, 1.2 miles stretch of road with an intersection in the middle. The second part will have an urban network that will include everything you might encounter in an urban setting. Lastly a 10,000 sq. ft control building will be constructed as the hub of testing. The intersection will come first and the rest will follow in 2019.

The total cost of phase one will be $45 million. Ohio State pledged $25 million of that total and chipping in as well as ODOT and Jobs Ohio.

This plan has been in the works for five years and Governor Kasich has done his part to help make this a reality.

"My understanding is with the big commercial airliners, much of it is not done by the pilots," said Kasich. "It’s put on remote. These planes are flown by something other than the humans. Now they’re there to monitor and in the beginning we’ll be there to monitor this, but this is going to be something that is absolutely going to happen, but I don’t think it’ll be overnight. It’s going to take a little time, but we’re in the forefront of it."

A phase two and three are planned for the future. All of this will be connected to the U.S. 33 corridor that will connect it to Smart Columbus, an initiative to create a more innovative city.

"We’ve been on the leading edge of developments that now, we take for granted," said Roubinek. "Whether those be seat belts, airbags, anti-lock braking systems so we’ve always seen what’s coming down the road to the consumers."

Roubinek said the first part of phase one will be completed "before the snow flies."

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