The world is yours: GAIA auto research facility opens

Monday, September 12, 2016

Parisa Golchoubian, Nasser Azad, Stefanie Bruinsma and John McPhee standing around an engine.

Graduate student Parisa Golchoubian, professor Nasser Azad, powertrain engineer Stefanie Bruinsma, and professor and director John McPhee are among those doing innovative work at the new Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility. Professors Azad and McPhee are the GAIA co-leads.

Automotive innovation picked up speed on Wednesday, September 7 with the official opening of a state-of-the-art research and testing facility at the University of Waterloo for smarter, cleaner vehicles.

A $10-million partnership involving the University, industry leaders and two levels of government, the Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility features cutting-edge equipment in three labs covering 4,000 square feet.

Central to its design is integration of its three cells – batteries, powertrains and a rolling dynamometer that simulates driving in the real world – to facilitate testing of the smallest components or entire vehicles under safe, reliable and controlled conditions.

“The beauty of GAIA is that it allows us to do a tremendous amount of testing and refinement long before we ever go on the road,” said John McPhee, the systems design engineering professor who co-leads the facility. “It’s the only facility of its size and capability in Canada, if not North America.”

The unique design will enable a team of about 150 faculty members and graduate students to make modifications and identify problems with electric and hybrid vehicles prior to hitting the test track, yielding key savings in terms of both time and money. [Read more]