Green Grand Prix spotlights self-driving technology
WATKINS GLEN--State, industry and university experts will discuss autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars, for the keynote panel at the 14th annual Toyota Green Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International Friday, April 13.
The Green Grand Prix is a showcase of motoring technology that aims for a cleaner environment. The day-long event emphasizes involvement of colleges and high schools from across New York and Pennsylvania.
The Green Grand Prix is part of Opening Weekend at the race track. Fans can drive their own cars on the track on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15.
The Green Grand Prix's on-track activities are complemented each year with speakers on appropriate topics that are free and open to the public
"This year, national attention is on self-driving vehicles. We thought we'd bring the issue to the Green Grand Prix," founder and organizer Bob Gillespie said.
"We want to give students and the general public an opportunity to learn about the technology involved and the real issues," Gillespie said. "Automotive technology is changing rapidly. Our panel discussion by experts will offer a rare look at what's presently in use as well as what's on the horizon."
The talk will be at 10:30 a.m. in the WGI Media Center. Ample parking is available in front of the center.
• Ali Chaudhry, deputy secretary for transportation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who serves as the policy lead on issues related to mobility and autonomous vehicles and on alternative project delivery procurements. He oversees policy, funding and operations at all transportation state agencies and public authorities, including the Department of Transportation, the MTA, the Thruway Authority, the Port Authority and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
• Brian Kiser, a Toyota Motor North America Safety Sense trainer from the Upstate New York Toyota Dealers Association. Kiser has been with Toyota/ Lexus since 1999. He educates the public, dealerships and corporate partners on products and technology, including the Mirai Fuel Cell vehicle.
• Joah Sapphire, a part-time researcher at the University at Buffalo, working on the Automated Electric Vehicle Campus Demonstration project funded by NYSERDA. He is president of Global Dynamic Group, LLC, an Internet of Things consulting firm and co-author of "Exploring Applications for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Unmanned Ground Systems in Enhanced Incident Management, Bridge Inspection and Other Transportation-related Operations." He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and is a member of the advisory board of University of Buffalo's Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics.
The Green Grand Prix's featured on-track event is the morning's Doris Bovee Memorial Fuel Economy Rally and Prius Challenge. This fuel-efficiency competition is for pre-registered drivers of alternate-fueled vehicles, hybrids and traditional gasoline-powered and diesel-powered vehicles. Individuals, colleges and universities, car clubs and manufacturers were all invited to participate.
The afternoon will offer an autocross organized by the Glen Region of the Sports Car Club of America.
Andrew Smith, technical director of the EVSR program at Entropy Racing, with his all-electric Sports Racer is among the expected special guests at the Green Grand Prix.
"The mission of the Toyota Green Grand Prix is educational, to promote innovation in sustainable transportation technologies," Gillespie said. "We are proud that our event attracts students from universities, colleges and high schools. We want the Green Grand Prix to be a means of encouraging technology students to stay in the Northeast to help move our region to become a center for clean energy."
The Toyota Green Grand Prix's events are sanctioned and run by SCCA's Glen Region and Finger Lakes Region and are the only official SCCA competitions of their kind in the nation.
The Doris Bovee Foundation is one of the Green Grand Prix's key supporters. Bovee was a well-known area environmentalist and taught for many years in the Corning-Painted Post school district. She was involved with SCCA road rallies and was part of the Glen Region SCCA at its inception.
For more information about the Green Grand Prix, visit www.greengrandprix.com or on Facebook at Green Grand Prix Corporation.