University of Waterloo creates facility dedicated to smart transportation

University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo has established a new research facility dedicated to researching new breeds of smarter and greener cars.

The $10 million Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) research facility was established as part of the faculty of engineering, with $1 million in initial funding from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. The governments of Canada and Ontario are also providing $2.1 million each through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure program.

GAIA will consist of three labs: one focusing on powertrain efficiency, another on longer-lasting batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and a third lab for testing research-modified hybrid electric vehicles on rolling dynamometers.

“The GAIA facility will enable world-class multidisciplinary research with a strong collaborative approach,” said John McPhee, a Waterloo systems design engineering professor who heads the GAIA project. McPhee will lead a research team of eight professors from four different engineering departments.

A few examples of the possible projects that GAIA would work on include alternative powertrains found in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as this research is essential to the future of clean transportation. Developing intelligent software for use in low-cost, on-board vehicle computers can provide significant reductions of both emissions and fuel consumption.

The facility will be accessible to various automotive companies and universities currently partnering with the University of Waterloo.