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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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$150 million to go toward new A&M facility

$150 million has been dedicated to a new research and development facility in the Texas A&M system called the RELLIS campus. 

The news came Monday in the form of an announcement at the Transportation Technology Conference. The campus will house a student body of 10,000 to 20,000 students when complete, and will be built on the former Bryan Air Base. The name RELLIS is based on the A&M core values. 

“RELLIS [or] R-E-L-L-I-S comes from the acronym for the Texas Aggies core values of respect, excellence, loyalty, leadership, integrity and selfless service,” Chancellor John Sharp said at an announcement during the Transportation Technology Conference. 

RELLIS will focus on research and industry — and how to make the two meet.

“This campus will help companies, including some here [at the conference] today, to bridge the so called ‘valley of death’ where those ideas whither from a lack of money of facilities to continue with prototypes and large scale testing,” Sharp said.

The RELLIS campus will include a testing area inside of which will be a test track for automotive and transportation testing. This track will be where the Texas A&M Transportation Institute will be testing and refining development of autonomous vehicles, said Christopher Poe assistant director for Connected and Automated Transportation Strategy. 

“It also opens up a lot more mobility options,” Poe said. “People who may not have to own cars in the future, or families that are two-car families may be able to be one-car families because there are other transportation services available. So one day when you call on your Uber app instead of a driver bringing your car it summons an automated vehicle.”   

Poe said there are many potential benefits when it comes to automated transportation. 

“A lot of the early advancement is in safety,” Poe said. “We kill close to 30,000 people a year [in automotive accidents] so the industry in general feels we can significantly cut that number down.”

Students who attend RELLIS will have the option of carrying over core curriculum credits when transferring into another school in the A&M system.

“An education center will offer four-year degrees to students not admitted to Texas A&M University through affiliations with other universities in the Texas A&M System,” according to a university news release.  

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