On October 23-25, automobile testing manufacturers, supplies, domestic and international OEMs, and government officials from around the world converged on Novi, Michigan, for Automotive Testing Expo 2012 North America. Eric Budd, Sales Manager for Proving Ground Automation (PGA), attended the expo in Novi to demonstrate PGA’s automotive testing capabilities.

“Our second year at the Automotive Testing Expo was a great success,” said Budd. “While the number of vendors
and attendees was down at the conference overall, the number of quality visitors to our booth was definitely up.” Eric went on to explain that many peripheral companies withdrew from the expo due to financial burdens of the economy. Their absence only ensured the remaining exhibiting companies were highly targeted to automotive testing, a fact very much appreciated by the conference attendees.

“Our most asked-about feature was our ability to run multiple vehicles simultaneously on a single
track—or multiple tracks for that matter—with only one controlling operator,” said Budd. PGA develops a version of the vehicle automation kit (VAK) that allows a single operator to coordinate multi-vehicle testing scenarios, durability tests, and even high speed or destructive rollover tests. The operator is stationed at a remote location and coordinates the vehicles with a combination of GPS guidance, RF command signals, visual displays, and vehicle health indicators. Automated vehicles at one proving ground location effectively interact with other autonomous or
human-driven vehicles, or they can independently run separate tests at disparate locations around the proving ground.

Transferability was another key feature of the VAK that drew a lot of attention at the Expo. “Our ability to move the vehicle automation kit between vehicles was well received by those visiting our booth,” said Budd. “They were impressed that transferring the kit to another vehicle is easy enough that it can be done by their own technicians, not ours, and that it can be done in one working day.” The VAK is comprised of a set of