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GM, Virginia Tech To Create Tire Test Facility

A “Smart Road” can already produce rain, snow and fog.

by on Aug.11, 2010

The VTTI Smart Road has the ability to replicate rain, snow and fog for tire testing.

General Motors Company is investing $5 million to help create a new National Tire Research Center at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Better fuel economy and lower emissions are two of the reasons why.

The facility is the result of a long partnership between VTTI and GM. Other funding for the $14 million center is coming from Virginia Tech and the national tobacco settlement.

The National Tire Research Center will incorporate state-of-the-art rolling resistance machinery, in theory enabling tire and automotive manufacturers to accelerate the development of tire technology, reproduce real-world emergency events, and improve vehicle highway safety, according to GM.

“This facility will be the only one of its kind in the world and will generate world-class tire research data while generating significant revenue and high tech jobs in Southside Virginia,” said Tom Dingus, VTTI director and principal investigator for the tire center proposal.

GM engineers and scientists, and Virginia Tech faculty will conduct the research and tests to speed the introduction of vehicles with advanced tire technology.

VTTI is known for its “Smart Road,” a 2.2-mile two-lane road with the ability to replicate rain, snow and fog as well as other driving conditions and collect data from test vehicles on site. The Smart Road eventually will become part of the public transportation system connecting Blacksburg, Va. to Interstate 81.

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