Transportation technology companies from the United States and around the world met at the Texas A&M University RELLIS Campus Oct. 22–26 for Texas Plugfest, a weeklong transportation technology equipment testing event hosted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). The companies — which have developed their own connected and self-driving automobile equipment — are hoping to stake out a role in the new era of transportation.
“As we build out this rich and robust technology platform — along with your help and assistance — we are really going to advance the safety and efficiency on our roadways, but also the connectivity between and amongst all devices, which will really move our economy and our civilization forward,” TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree said during the opening of Plugfest, held at The Texas A&M University System’s Center for Infrastructure Renewal.
Plugfest is organized by OmniAir Consortium, a trade association which grants certification to connected vehicle devices that meet compliance and interoperability specifications. Those devices were tested at the RELLIS Campus during Plugfest in laboratories and facilities supplied by TTI.
“It was 2010 when I began to understand the depth of expertise resident here at TTI, and the number of dedicated engineers who are propelling forward connected and automated vehicles and other transportation technology issues,” said Jason Conley, executive director of OmniAir Consortium.
During the opening session of Plugfest, panels of experts discussed various aspects of connected and autonomous vehicles, including the current testing and deployment of vehicles across the country, and cybersecurity concerns surrounding the new technologies.
As part of his keynote address, Darran Anderson, the director of strategy and innovation at the Texas Department of Transportation, told attendees that he’s appreciative of the roles that Plugfest attendees are playing. “What really drives it for us is the lifesaving potential of this and the quality of life that will be enabled when we bring these types of technologies into the mobility space for the whole world.”