Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, or CAVS, decided a few years back that what it really wanted was the Great Outdoors.
It’s getting its wish.
CAVS sees itself on a road less taken through its work with the U.S. Army researching and building driverless off-road vehicles. A sign of how far CAVS intends to go is seen behind its Starkville headquarters, where work crews are building a 50-acre track that will provide real-world tests of the modeling and simulations prepared by CAVS’ team of professional and graduate and undergraduates.
Mississippi State created the automotive-research-and-outreach center early in the previous decade with Japanese automaker Nissan’s arrival in Canton. Its work with the auto industry, military, NASA and other institutions and sectors has grown to include innovations in steel, additive manufacturing, hybrid and electrical vehicles, computational fluid dynamics and something CAVS calls “bio-inspired design.” Bio-inspired design seeks to model ways to emulate the marvels of nature (the strength of a woodpecker’s beak, for instance).