ARC annual event stresses engineering research for nation, industry

By Jerome AliottaMay 20, 2021

A leading group of researchers and engineers from the U.S. Army, the domestic automotive industry and esteemed universities – collectively known as the Automotive Research Center (ARC) – held its annual conference May 10-11 virtually.

The ARC is the key hub for the U.S. Army, where new ideas are generated and translated into key technologies in the autonomy of ground systems, including vehicle dynamics, control, autonomous behavior, human-autonomy teaming, high performance structures and materials, intelligent power systems, and fleet operations and vehicle system of systems integration.

Hosted by Prof. Bogdan Epureanu, ARC Director, and Dr. David Gorsich, U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) Chief Scientist, the event featured distinguished government and industry speakers including: U.S. Sen. Gary Peters; Alec D. Gallimore, Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan; Michael Cadieux, GVSC Director; Dr. Patrick Baker, Director at Army Research Laboratory; Chris Davey, Senior Technical Leader and Manager at Ford Motor Co.; Tony Bromwell, Vice President, Engineering Operations at MSC Software; and Kevin Dutcher, Senior Systems Engineer from Ricardo Defense.

They addressed more than 325 registered attendees across both days of the event about the importance of engineering research to the nation, the state, as well as their industries.

“There is really no question that this [ARC] is a national strategic asset,” Sen. Peters said.

This groundbreaking work conducted through the ARC is dedicated to advancing ground vehicle modeling and simulations.

“The projects that you’re working on and the gaps you’re satisfying in terms of providing enabling capabilities to inform us where we need to invest, it’s a reflection of the amazing alignment we have within the community and it helps us answer, ‘what’s that roadmap of product development look like to achieve our next generation combat vehicle?’ ” Cadieux said.

ARC faculty and researchers presented case studies and in-depth technical talks that address key engineering needs necessary to develop and deploy future autonomous ground vehicles.

GVSC has created the Army’s ground vehicle autonomy strategy built on a foundation of Modular Open Systems Approach, which will enable common unmanned maneuver capabilities across the ground vehicle fleet.

“We are dedicated to getting robotics capability into the hands of Soldiers to help define future tactics and techniques for fighting with these revolutionary systems while informing future required capabilities for the S&T community to develop,” Gorsich said.

Each year, Army officials meet with ARC leadership to discuss their research needs and to understand current studies at the Center. Each project includes participation from university students, faculty, government and industry.

“As a center of excellence, the ARC is the preeminent organization of the U.S. Army in the area of modeling and simulation,” said Epureanu, who is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. “Our strategic partnerships stimulate technological breakthroughs in the development of modern autonomous transportation systems.”

Gorsich said the ARC is a critical enabler to Army modernization. “Its focus is on the modeling, simulation and virtual prototyping of ground systems to quickly understand the benefits and burdens of integrating new technologies into our systems,” he said.

Epureanu pointed out that the future of ground systems in both commercial and military contexts is going through revolutionary change. “The ARC is leading the way in creating this future,” he said. “A strong convergence of disciplines allows the ARC to address technological elements, human factors and social behaviors that work in harmony, with trust and resilience.”

Established in 1994 at the University of Michigan, the ARC is an Army Center of Excellence for advancing the technology of high-fidelity simulation of military and civilian ground vehicles that includes the participation of several universities known for their M&S expertise, including Wayne State University, Oakland University, the University of Iowa, Clemson University, Virginia Tech, Michigan Technological University, Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

“The ARC’s wide-ranging partnerships provide access to experts in various automotive disciplines,” said Andrea Simon, a Computer Engineer and GVSC’s Academic/University Liaison. “This breadth of expertise is essential to understanding many of the complex challenges facing ground vehicles, especially in harsh environments.”

The remarks and keynotes were recorded and can be accessed at the event website: