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June 30, 2013 | Tom Ballard

atoXLR8R hits road for first “Tech Tour” session

autoXLR8R(EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s an update from the autoXLR8R team about its recent inaugural “Tech Tour” last week to Alabama. The group comes to Oak Ridge National Laboratory next week.)

Founders hit the road and traveled to Alabama this week where they were quizzed on the viability of their technologies by Bill Taylor, former CEO of Mercedes-Benz US International in Tuscaloosa County and Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian.

Dr. Bharat, as he is known, headed up innovation product development for Daimler prior to becoming Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies.

The trip to Tuscaloosa was part of the first leg of the autoXLR8R Tech Tour which takes the autoXLR8R companies around the Southeast.

autoXLR8R was hosted by Alabama Institute for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Alabama. Ron Davis, executive director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute and president of the Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association, said the companies came here for networking and to gain feedback on their products. The University of Alabama is part of a consortium of universities, associations and institutes that support the autoXLR8R program.

Drawing on his experience with Mercedes, Dr. Bharat provided a behind the scenes look at the development of autotomous vehicle technology and the intense effort that goes into the product development and design of today’s smart cars.

In addition to pitch sessions and one-on-one meetings with Bharat, Taylor and university faculty, the founders toured labs and testing facilities including the anechoic chamber, a sound absorbant room that is used for isolating frequencies (pictured right).

Future autoXLR8R trips this summer will inlcude stops at Oak Ridge National Lab, Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, Eastman Chemical to name a few.

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