Purdue University: Initiative on Autonomous Vehicles

The Indianapolis-based university is launching an innovation hub focused on connected and autonomous transportation technologies. 

The Innovation Hub for Connected and Autonomous Transportation Technology will be established in Purdue's Discovery Park, a vast complex which is home to students and researches working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). 

As the Indianapolis Business Journal reported today, the research conducted at the hub will be done in partnership with government agencies (such as the Indiana DOT) and private-sector companies. As the University's relevant website mentions, Indiana and the Midwest are well-positioned to become leaders in the field of connected and autonomous vehicle transportation, while Purdue's facilities mirror those needed to fill the gap for such transportation in the region. 

One of the projects promoted on the Innovation Hub's website is the NEXTCAR initiative, a project which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Purdue has partnered with leaders in the field, such as Cummins Inc and Peloton. 

While Purdue is not the first institution to launch programmes focusing on autonomous vehicles (Harvard University has implemented something similar, albeit focusing on regulation and policy, at the Kennedy School of Government), Purdue University may be particularly committed to this initiative: according to Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana holds the second place in the country for automotive-related GDP generation; Michigan, expectedly, holds the top spot. 

Amid the most recent developments in the AV space, which include Waymo launching their fully autonomous taxi fleet in Arizona later this year and Daimler/Bosch launching a robo-taxi service in the Bay Area, it will be interesting to see a respected institution launch an AV-focused initiative. Will this help the AV industry advance their technology? We will soon find out. 

Photo Credit: B0Ttig

Andrew Kyprianides