July 19, 2019
Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence Partners on Autonomous Technology Grant
By Chris Hadfield
Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence
We are excited to announce that the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence is one of five partners across the nation that are collaborating on the newly formed National Center for Autonomous Technology. This is the largest ever National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education center grant.
This grant will facilitate the formation of the National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT), which will be hosted on Northland Community and Technical College’s Aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN. Northland will partner with St. Cloud State University (SCSU), Marine Advanced Technology Education Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II), Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech), and the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence (TCOE) to educate and promote autonomous technologies throughout the United States.
Autonomous technology is already woven into the fabric of everyday life from autonomous guided agricultural equipment to household vacuums that are able to independently navigate the living room.
“Advanced vehicle technology is here. The NCAT will create the infrastructure to develop skilled technicians who will build the workforce of today and tomorrow to meet industry demands,”
explains Christopher Hadfield, Director of the Minnesota State Transportation Center for Excellence, “In two years, 60% of all new vehicles will have autonomous technology components.”
The NCAT will focus on air, land, and sea autonomous technologies: unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), connected automated vehicles (CAV), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). “Our mission has four main tenets,” states Curtis Zoller, Northland Associate Dean of Aerospace & Agriculture, “to educate the educators, to promote student involvement, engage the workforce and community, and to act as an education hub for autonomous technology across the country.”