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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

$6 million for Robotic CarLab at Stanford

Volkswagen of America said Thursday that it will spend about $6 million to build and fund an automotive research lab on the Stanford University campus.

To be called the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, the building will serve as a research center for vehicle-safety and environmental issues, as well as continuing work on autonomous driving. Since 2004, Stanford professors and students have collaborated with VW's Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto to build a series of robotic vehicles that have finished first and second in Defense Department events in 2005 and 2007.

Chris Gerdes, a mechanical engineering professor, will direct research that will take place, which Stanford has dubbed as CarLab.

VW said it will donate $2 million for the building, and $750,000 a year for five years to fund research.

The 8,000-square-foot lab near Stock Farm Road and Campus Drive West will replace a dusty Quonset hut where the robotic vehicle team tested its vehicles. It will include auto bays with lifts, a machine shop, meeting rooms and an outdoor drive space.

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