Since its inception in 2019, Peachtree Corners’ Curiosity Lab has seen drones, scooters, shuttles, trucks, and cars on its smart roads. All these have been deployed to help expedite autonomous vehicle opportunities.
This week, The Lab is making a mobility research and test vehicle available to companies and startups innovating across the transportation space.
The Lab will now have a Ford Edge available for companies working on camera/computer vision, in-vehicle entertainment, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and other autonomous vehicle-related tools.
The test vehicle’s rooftop rack gives companies the ability to attach their own LiDAR (light detection/ranging) and other sensors for testing.
Betsy Plattenburg, Curiosity Lab’s Executive Director, told Hypepotamus that the new vehicle is “another tool companies of any size can use to help develop advanced mobility and autonomous technologies.”
“We have received a lot of inbound inquiries from companies asking if we had a mobility test platform for companies – and this initiative is a direct response to that need. Now, companies don’t need to be vehicle manufacturers to test the technology in a living lab environment. Moreover, even smaller companies who don’t have the resources to buy their own vehicles can test as there are no size limitations or requirements for companies that want to test.”
For Plattenburg, the rollout of the new program correlates with the rising interest in and the necessity for autonomous vehicles.
“Companies have developed and tested autonomous technology for a while. However, the pandemic sped up the prospect for mass adoption as more consumers understand and appreciate contactless delivery of goods and personal transport. Pre-pandemic, driverless vehicles seemed futuristic. Now they seem more necessary, whether to disinfect a hospital room or to deliver food or medicine,” said Plattenburg.
THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORT
As interest in their test track has grown in 2020 and beyond, Curiosity Lab’s Innovation Center has overhauled its HVAC and ventilation systems to meet the COVID guidelines. This has helped get more vehicles on their testing road.
Several large companies have leveraged Curiosity Lab recently. Bosch first deployed its traffic video sensor technology in September. In December, LG-MRI launched BoldVu® displays to further integrate visual communication, IoT, analytics, and connectivity throughout the Lab.