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MSU Officials Discuss Plans for Newly Acquired Property to Benefit CAVS Research an HPC2 Member Institute

September 10, 2018

Center for Advanced Vehicle Systems at night.
Mississippi State has recently acquired property adjacent to the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park that the university’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems will use to develop autonomous driving and advanced driving-assist technologies.

Due to security and safety concerns, the property will no longer be used for informal biking trails, as it was under previous ownership.

A Friday [Sept. 7] article in The Reflector reported on MSU’s recent acquisition of the property, but did not contact or quote MSU sources to explain the research institution’s planned use of the property.

Clay Walden, executive director of CAVS, said university research projects include a focus on autonomous vehicles operating in off-road environments, with particular focus on military application. CAVS is developing the MSU Autonomous Vehicle Simulation platform, and the newly acquired property will house an autonomous vehicle test track, which necessitates the closure of an area used for off-road biking while the property was under previous ownership.

MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said research partnerships require the university to comply with security guidelines.

“From a compliance standpoint with Department of Defense requirements, and from a general liability standpoint, the university has no choice other than to close the bike trails that are contained on the property that has been acquired by the university,” Salter said.

Walden said the property creates new opportunity to expand on CAVS’ portfolio of work. The world-class technology development center explores solutions to complex problems in areas such as materials science, high-performance computing, advanced controls and human-machine interaction, in addition to autonomous vehicles.

“We are really excited about acquiring the property – it is real game changer for us in the area of off-road autonomous vehicles. We are looking forward to leveraging this capability and expanding our research with several different agencies, including current controlled contracts with the Department of Defense. Exploring this new research area brings challenges which require restricted access to ensure the safety and success of our researchers and students,” Walden said.

Kathy Gelston, associate vice president for corporate engagement and economic development in MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development, said the land will be used as part of a large, multi-year research project that MSU is performing for the Department of Defense. 

“This project will involve mainly ‘off-road’ testing of the guidance system installed in a military all-terrain vehicle,” Gelston said.

Learn more about MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at

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Written by Allison Matthews