N.C. A&T Hosted Technology Day Ahead of N.C. Transportation Summit

By Michiko Horie / 05/22/2024 College of Engineering

By Michiko Horie, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering program assistant

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 22, 2024) – Greensboro hosted the 2024 N.C. Transportation Summit drawing more than 1,200 attendees from all over the world, with more than 100 sponsors and exhibitors May 21-22. The summit provided a platform for discussions ranging from safety and funding to innovation, all aimed at addressing North Carolina’s evolving population and transportation needs. 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University hosted Technology Day on May 20 at the transportation facility at Gateway Research Park North Campus. The pre-summit event provided an opportunity to demonstrate cutting-edge transportation technologies developed or deployed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), universities and industry.

“During this technical tour, we have the opportunity to witness the groundbreaking advancements that are shaping the future of our field,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Joey Hopkins. “We have a great mix of technology enthusiasts, industry experts and visionaries who share our passion for excellence and forward-thinking solutions.

“Beyond the technology on display, today is also about forging connections, and fostering collaboration. It’s about coming together to exchange ideas and share experiences. There is no end to what we can accomplish by partnering together.”

The event also included a live demonstration of the fleet of Aggie Autonomous shuttles developed by N.C. A&T researchers, as well as demonstrations of other transportation technologies by various exhibitors including electric vehicles and buses, unmanned aerial systems, wheelchair charging and more, all showcased on the rural test track at Gateway Research Park. 

“When we talk about transportation, it is the great connector,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley Pass, Ph.D., A&T College of Engineering dean. “When we look at what we’ve done to strategically invest in infrastructure, we’re looking at transportation technology, public transportation and rural and underserved communities. As a land-grant institution, we really want to get out into the community and with your support we, along with other researchers in the state, can improve the human condition.”

The Aggie Autonomous shuttles are state-of-the-art automated driving vehicles developed and deployed by talented researchers at A&T. These shuttles have been developed to provide better transportation choices in rural areas, as well as connecting places that have little to no access to public transportation. The shuttles were deployed on public streets of downtown Greensboro for about one month in September 2023 through a pilot program sponsored by NCDOT and the U.S. Department of Transportation under a technology transfer funding mechanism.

The visitors arrived to the pre-summit event in Greensboro Transit Agency electric buses, then were welcomed and guided to the main exhibit area by Starship Robots. Demonstrations and exhibits from NCDOT, A&T, North Carolina State University, Starship Technologies, Causey Aviation, FlyTrex, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA’s MOVE Community Outreach preceded opening remarks by Hopkins. He was followed by addresses from Luster-Teasley Pass; Ebony Pittman, NCDOT deputy secretary from COMTO-NC; Reggie Scales, managing director of VHB; and closing remarks by Ali Karimoddini, Ph.D., director of the CR2C2 Regional University Transportation Center at A&T. 

As guests explored the technology and engaged in deeper conversations with exhibitors, A&T and N.C. State researchers provided autonomous vehicle rides on a fleet of three Aggie Autonomous shuttles and a Tesla supervised self-driving system, giving the guests a first-hand experience on the rural test track unveiled in 2022. This two-mile track features rural driving scenarios and allows researchers to test vehicles in real-world conditions. This transportation facility is also host to a steadily growing autonomous vehicle fleet, which now includes six automated driving vehicles of varying sizes and capabilities.

Media Contact Information: jmhowse@ncat.edu

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