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Campus News in Brief

University seeks to expand research programs into N.Y.

Carnegie Mellon has developed partnerships with New York University, the University of Toronto, City University of New York, and IBM. The partnerships have resulted in preliminary steps toward creating research and education programs in New York City.

New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is especially interested in establishing stronger ties with Carnegie Mellon and other research universities across the nation.

Carnegie Mellon’s interests are in two areas: a digital media program and a “Smart City” program that will be led by New York University.
The proposed media program will be aimed at building upon entertainment technologies while the “Smart City” program, though led by New York University, will be strengthened by Carnegie Mellon’s research in intelligent transportation systems as well as smart infrastructure.

Carnegie Mellon officials expect that if a concrete decision is made after this preliminary process, the activity in New York might lead to enhanced research funding for its faculty.

Moreover, they hope the partnership will ultimately increase opportunities to attract companies to Pittsburgh.

Officials commented that the university is only in an exploration phase and any decision concerning expansion to New York is months away.

ChangeCar project team to unveil new electric vehicle

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon plan to unveil a solely electric-powered 2002 Honda Civic, a prototype for their ChargeCar Electric Vehicle Conversion Project.

People who want to purchase their own converted vehicle can attend an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. on March 25 at the Electric Garage, located in Oakland.

The ChargeCar project is part of the university’s Robotics Institute’s CREATE Lab. Researchers are working with local mechanics to develop methods and the necessary components for converting cars into electric-powered, commuting vehicles. Initial efforts have focused on 2001–05 models of Honda Civics.

“For now, you can electrify any car you want — as long as it’s a Honda Civic,” said Illah Nourbakhsh, associate research professor of robotics and head of the CREATE Lab, in a press release.

He further commented that other models and car brands will be converted as the project progresses and grows. In addition to Nourbakhsh, the co-directors of ChargeCar are Ben Brown and Gregg Podnar, technical staff members of the Robotics Institute.

The open house will provide an opportunity for people to test-ride the newly converted vehicles and talk to the research team, as well as the project’s mechanics.