The Automotive Research Center (ARC) is a University-based U.S. Army Center of Excellence for advancing the technology of high fidelity simulation of military and civilian ground vehicles. It represents the key basic research partner of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, Michigan. The ARC was established in 1994 at the University of Michigan. Our partnership base has evolved over the years to meet the research needs of our Army sponsors and now include Wayne State University, Oakland University, the University of Iowa, Clemson University and Virginia Tech. TARDEC underwent a name change in 2019 to Ground Vehicle Systems Center.

The Mission of ARC

The ARC mission is to develop simulation and modeling tools that help discover and assess critical ground vehicle technologies. The ARC also trains the future workforce that has a comprehensive understanding of the technical tools developed at the ARC and the ability to further develop and apply those tools to multi-disciplinary problems that are relevant to both the Army and industry.

The Scope of ARC

The ARC focuses on the research problems associated with the mobility, survivability, and operational efficiency of ground vehicles and vehicle systems. Platforms may have conventional or hybrid powertrains; be manned, tele-operated, or fully autonomous; be small ground robots or large trucks; and be a single vehicle or a fleet of vehicles. The research focus ranges from component level to system-of-systems level, from the safety of the human operator to the safety of the vehicle, from advanced powertrains to advanced structures, and from driver-vehicle interaction to vehicle-terrain interaction and to vehicle-grid interaction. Time scale of interest may be from a fraction of milliseconds when studying blast events, or on the order of years when studying the benefits of a modular fleet.

The center employs extensive experimental facilities for the development and validation of multi-physics models in the areas of energy conversion and management of power within vehicles, as well as occupant safety. The models and simulations used are all accompanied by analytical tools that assess optimality, reliability, survivability and mobility in harsh environments, with constrained fuel supplies, over a variety of terrains and missions.

To bridge fundamental technology gaps, the ARC relies on the collaboration of researchers from multiple universities and disciplines. Alongside the basic scientific goals, the Center focuses on Army-relevant topics and partners with government and industry to leverage and transfer these efforts and results.