Blacksburg, Virginia – General Motors is investing US$5 million to help create the National Tire Research Center at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). The facility is the result of a long partnership between the institute and the automaker.
Other funding for the $14 million centre will come from Virginia Tech and a national tobacco settlement.
“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 centre proposal.
The facility will use state-of-the-art rolling resistance machinery, enabling tire and auto manufacturers to accelerate the development of tire technology, reproduce real-world emergency events, and improve vehicle highway safety. GM engineers and scientists will conduct the research and tests along with Virginia Tech faculty to speed introduction of vehicles with advanced tire technology.
VTTI is known for its “Smart Road,” a two-lane road with the ability to replicate rain, snow, fog and other driving conditions, and collect data from test vehicles on site. The Smart Road will eventually become part of the public transportation system connecting Blacksburg to Interstate 81.