Transportation Symposium to Discuss Emerging Vehicle Technology

April 2, 2012

AUSTIN, TX — The Center for Transportation Research (CTR), a transportation research center of The University of Texas at Austin, will host a symposium April 4 about emerging vehicle technology that is open to the public.

Keynote speakers for the Emerging Vehicle Technology symposium are Craig Eppling, regional communications manager of General Motors, and Ken Allen, senior vice president of H-E-B.

Eppling will discuss current and future automobile technologies and the development of the Chevrolet Volt. Allen will describe a variety of technologies being adopted into new tractor-trailer designs for H-E-B to reduce fuel consumption. A Volt and a 2012 H-E-B truck will be available for inspection during the event. H-E-B technicians will be on hand to answer questions about the truck.

“Automobiles will continue to play the major role in Texas personal mobility but will do so with substantially, lower fuel consumption and emission footprints,” said Robert Harrison, CTR deputy director. “New tractors specified by H-E-B are already close to meeting President Obama’s 2017 fuel consumption targets. All this is challenging for the Texas Department of Transportation since fuel taxes remain the major source of income for state highway construction and maintenance.”

Electric networked vehicles, which Eppling will discuss in his presentation, “The Future of the Automobile,” are designed to be a future means of transportation that will be green, high-tech and connected. Significant features of networked vehicles include detection of obstacles and the use of global positioning to allow hands-free driving.

Better truck design and effective information technology can save significant quantities of truck fuel, according to Allen, who will demonstrate the point in his talk, “H-E-B Trucks: Technologies and Fuel Consumption.” H-E-B uses IT to connect truck locations with data on goods and materials, reducing empty hauls, as well as introducing dual-fuel trucks to reduce fuel consumption. A new vehicle will be on site to show trailer and tractor improvements for 2011-12 trucks.

The second portion of the symposium will present a variety of engineering topics. Cockrell School of Engineering Assistant Professor Fernanda Leite will discuss IT applications for work zone safety and infrastructure management. Yetkin Yildirim, a professional researcher at CTR, will present recent applications for pavement preservation in Texas, and Ferguson Structural Engineering Lab researchers will present the latest work in steel bridge research.

Poster sessions during the event will allow participants to meet with more than a dozen University of Texas at Austin graduate student researchers and transportation faculty members who will demonstrate progress and preliminary findings in active projects on diverse topics including wireless communication models for traffic monitoring, the effect of electric vehicles, micro-simulating auto markets, electric vehicle tech trends, nonwork travel land-use modeling, regression-based crash prediction models, residential relocation models and urban land use development patterns.

At the event, CTR will announce this year’s winner of the Mac Shelby Award, which honors a research project director who has provided exceptional leadership, technical expertise, ability to address special challenges and dedication to research.

The event is 1-5 p.m. in the Commons Learning Center at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

For more information and to register, visit the CTR website or call 512-232-3100.

For more information, contact: Melissa Mixon.