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August 14, 2022 | Tom Ballard

UTC receives largest research grant ever to advance the local Smart City initiative

Chattanooga will be home to the nation’s largest electric vehicle (EV) “living testbed,” thanks to $9.2 million in funding for a project proposed by the city and scientists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) along with municipal, private industry and research partners.

The $4.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation that was announced last week is the single largest grant of its kind in UTC history. It will be matched with another $4.7 million from industry partners, the university, City of Chattanooga, and EPB.

According to this news release from UTC, the proposal calls for a networked system that will enable EV drivers to more readily locate charging stations. Those charging opportunities will be customized for drivers as a result of the system recognizing the charge level of individual electric vehicles, volume and pace of traffic and electric grid power demand to recommend charging stations and types by locations.

The proposal was submitted by Chattanooga’s Smart City program, and its development was led by Osama Osman, Chief Scientist and Smart Transportation Thrust Lead for UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) along with CUIP Founding Director Mina Sartipi, also Guerry Professor in the UTC Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

“This award is a game changer,” Osman (pictured left) said. “It will transform Chattanooga into a living testbed for all sorts of smart transportation technologies, making the city a leader in EV deployment and EV charging management and set the stage for more transformation yet to come.

He added that “the idea is to connect EV users to customized charging opportunities considering traffic conditions and electric grid status – customized in the sense of the charging station type, such as ‘fast’ – and location to be recommended to an EV user based on their current charge, how much time they have, real-time traffic status, and state of the electric grid.”

Sartipi (pictured here) said the proposal, titled “End-to-End Decision Support System for Integrated Smart Electric Grid and Transportation System Management,” is based on a three-year plan. “In the first year, we will develop the architecture and the ConOps as well as the procurement of the devices,” she explained. “In the second year, we will install and test the equipment. Relevant algorithms will be developed and baselines will be established. During the third year, we will collect data, analyze it and measure the impact.”

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