n my last message I talked about the unusual circumstances in which we were operating in the midst of a global pandemic. A year later, with this experience in hindsight, I’m pleased to report to you that CAR has operated as effectively and efficiently as could be expected. After a two-month shift to remote-only work in the early stages of the pandemic, CAR was one of the first research units at The Ohio State University to open research labs. At the time of writing this message, CAR has been continuously operating its research facilities for more than 12 months. We were able to accomplish this by actively participating in the decision-making process of the university as to how to safely return to research. CAR Senior Associate Director David Cooke was an active member of the College of Engineering committee that created, enabled and appropriately modified all of the procedures for a safe return to research activities.
Throughout the past 12 months we have been able to safely operate our research facilities without stopping any of the programmed and planned activities. Activities related to commercial vehicle testing and evaluation, energy storage systems research, vehicle electrification, vehicle autonomy and cybersecurity have continued and, in some cases, grown during the past 12 months. One of our early successes in the return to research work involved arrangements with the Transportation Research Center so that we could resume connected and automated vehicle testing activities at its facility.
As of the end of spring semester 2021, we have been granted the authority to operate at what is nominally 100% capacity, while respecting university-defined occupancy and distancing limitations and wearing masks on the job. We are on track for a nearly completely “normal” fall semester. We are very proud of what we have accomplished and we are now seeing an increase in in-person interaction with our partners
and sponsors. We are also seeing our existing graduate and undergraduate student activities increase and our student projects teams will be able to experience (or have already experienced) in-person competitions this summer. Finally, we have been able to reactivate our summer internship program and Camp CAR.
Director, Center for Automotive Research
Ford Motor Chair in Electromechanical Systems
Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering