Posted in | News | Automotive Robotics

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to Install Robotic and Positioning Technology at VRC

Locata Corporation announced today that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) plans to install a Locata network as the core positioning technology in a $30 million upgrade soon to be under way at their famed Vehicle Research Center (VRC) near Washington DC.

The IIHS will use Locata positioning to control automated testing of frontal collision avoidance and other safety systems.

A LocataNet will provide the vitally important high-precision positioning required by the VRC to perform rigorous, consistent and repeatable scientific evaluation of new vehicle crash avoidance systems. VRC crash tests produce the famous TOP SAFETY PICK ratings, which have helped consumers make informed decisions about buying safer cars for years. Now research into new technology systems which allow cars to avoid crashes in the first place will elevate the value of the Institute's safety ratings to new levels.

Carrying out these new tests is not a trivial exercise. The VRC will have to research and install new state-of-the-art robotic and positioning technology to enable the required level of precision. The LocataNet installation will furnish the IIHS with a locally controlled positioning system that is seamless over all of the VRC test areas, enabling extremely reliable automated positioning of vehicles. The newly expanded facility includes a continuous vehicle test track that transverses not only open-air roadway areas but also a vast 300 by 700 foot fully covered testing area. Locata's unique ability to provide cm-accurate, locally controlled positioning across both these outdoor and indoor environments gives the IIHS flexibility to design a positioning system to meet their vital test requirements, while also allowing easy upgrade and expansion in the future.

The dramatic video footage from IIHS crash tests draws extensive media coverage, which becomes a powerful public incentive for automakers to improve the safety of their vehicles. The media, auto industry and policymakers look to the IIHS as a leader in highway safety research, and the expanded VRC will enable the IIHS to play a major role in the emerging area of crash avoidance testing.

"Crash tests and research conducted at the VRC have helped drive life-saving improvements in vehicle designs," said Adrian Lund, President of IIHS. "Our new state-of-the-art facility will allow us to also evaluate emerging vehicle-based systems intended to prevent crashes or lessen their severity, so that we can encourage the entire industry to adopt the most effective ones."

To do this new research it is absolutely essential to conduct tests under identical, controlled conditions. With Locata, IIHS researchers will be able to ensure precise positioning data is available in all of its test areas. In places where GPS signals would be unreliable or unavailable when tests are conducted under cover, Locata seamlessly delivers consistent, reliable and accurate positioning, available everywhere. It will help IIHS carry out automated, identical testing to allow 'apples to apples' comparisons of motor vehicles. This is a critical advancement for testing systems that will save many lives in the future.

Locata technology provides GPS-style, ground-based positioning covering local areas ranging in size from a parking lot to thousands of square miles. It provides precise positioning either in combination with, or in the total absence of, GPS. It is the first and only technology which can replicate the GPS system's precise positioning capability without using satellites. Locata's current devices have already delivered revolutionary new positioning capabilities to professional applications in mining, aviation, warehousing and as "GPS backup systems" for important strategic areas. Locata is now being trialled by several government bodies in urban areas as a locally controlled positioning infrastructure in applications for transport, first responders, surveyors and container port automation. As Locata devices are further miniaturized over the next few years, this technology advance promises to be a game-changer for the positioning capabilities available to indoor, mobile and smartphone applications.

"GPS satellites are in a constant state of motion," said Nunzio Gambale, CEO of Locata Corporation. "In many environments this makes it impossible to achieve the level of reliable positioning required for meaningful scientific testing. Locata readily steps into these environments to deliver an always-on, unfailing and superbly accurate positioning signal. We are honored to be chosen as the positioning technology which helps the IIHS research, test and drive forward the development of life-saving automotive initiatives. This Locata installation at the legendary Vehicle Research Center will be the most publicly visible jewel in our crown to date. Relationships like this confirm the value of years of hard work we put in to invent this amazing and unique technology."

"The Locata team is thrilled to see how rapidly our systems are being taken up by the crème-de-la-crème of the positioning industry," continued Gambale. "We know this VRC testing is world-first, ground-breaking work that has enormous global and social value. It's wonderful to think that our work may contribute to one day saving my life -- or yours!"

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses -- deaths, injuries, and property damage -- from crashes on the nation's highways. The Institute is wholly supported by auto insurers. The Vehicle Research Center is located in Ruckersville, in the foothills of central Virginia.

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