One of a kind campus proving grounds lead the way for autonomous vehicle research at Kettering University

FLINT (WJRT) - (12/06/18) - A transformative, new facility in the future of automobile mobility research has been in the works now for a few years at Flint's Kettering University.

But now it's up, open and being used by international and multinational companies.

"You can go on and off the pad so the track, the road course operates as part of the pad," said Kettering University President Dr. Robert McMahan.

It features a 3.25-acre customizable test pad with straightaway distances of up 500-feet. That was completed in 2016. There is also a low speed vehicle dynamics course which completed in the fall of 2018.

Self-driving and self-aware vehicles, like the one Delphi Technologies showed off in November, are being tested on the proving grounds.

The completed Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center was constructed in three phases, and is the only one of its kind on a college campus in the United States, according to the university.

"It not only has the test areas, road courses and test pads that one associates with a normal automotive development center, we have the building that we're currently in, which is the Harris Research Annex, which is a state of the art engineering laboratory facility sitting right in the heart of that facility," McMahan said.

That includes communications technology that sets the university apart. Its private wireless system was funded through a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation.

Construction began on the facility in 2015 and was funded in part through a $2 million grant from the GM Foundation.

"We have all of those communications systems in place, including for example, the only 4G LTE advanced cellular network operated by a university in the United States is right here in Flint, and we have cell towers at the university that provide that connectivity to vehicles."

While at the forefront of shaping the mobility universe, the 21-acre property that formerly housed Chevy in the Hole, is uniquely Flint.

"To have this on campus and to have it in the middle of Flint is actually very exciting because it positions Flint once again at the forefront of the development of the automotive industry," McMahan said.

You can email or call 810-762-7996 to learn more about the facility.

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