Colorado State University to receive four smart cars for research

FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University (CSU) is one of four schools nationwide selected to receive four all-electric micro vehicles in August, which will help advance its sustainable transportation research.

The University Electric Vehicles (UEVs), manufactured by Internet2 and Innova UEV LLC., will be used in two ongoing research projects at CSU, including a grant from the Electric Power Research Institute to analyze data collected from plug-in electric vehicles, including how people are charging them, how far they venture from campus, how much traffic, parking, etc., is displaced by these vehicles; and educational outreach to local K-12 students funded by the Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation.

The cars, which will be equipped with a tablet-sized personal computers, will connect to the campus’ wireless network to communicate operational data, such as position, speed and battery charge.

Users of the UEV, as known as the Innova Dash, can use a mobile application to find out whether the cars are available, where they are and where they will be. The researchers will then collect, transfer, store and analyze sensor data from the vehicles.

“With the Innova vehicles in the university motor pool, campus employees will have the opportunity to choose a unique and innovative vehicle option when they need to make off-campus trips,” Scott Baily, director of Academic Computing and Networking Services and principal investigator on the Innova project, said in a statement.

“We are really excited about this opportunity to exploit CSU’s exceptional commitment to sustainability, research, and technology. We can capitalize on established research techniques to monitor, store and analyze vehicle performance data; accelerate our goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and explore the nuances of integrating electric vehicles into the daily lives of faculty, staff and students.”

All aggregated data will become anonymous and publicly available for any research at the end of the projects.

The other universities receiving vehicles are the University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington and the University Wisconsin.

“We are excited about these four campuses that are regional leaders in sustainability using these electric vehicles to enhance research, adopt advanced technologies, and enhance campus carbon footprint reductions,” Steve Wolff, Internet2 interim chief technology officer, said in a statement.

“As more devices are connected to each other via the Internet and provide data that helps us make thoughtful decisions, it’s key that the Internet2 research and education community is at the cutting-edge of the technology and opportunities. We look forward to learning the results from these Internet of Things’ research projects and hearing, what’s next.”

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