Utah lawmakers experience self-driving technology at the EVR test track

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Utah lawmakers and transportation officials discussed the future of self driving vehicles and wireless charging technology while visiting the UPEL facility in July. Utah transportation officials also attended a showcase in order to discover some of the benefits and the potential costs of integrating wireless charging systems into future transportation systems. 


The Utah State University Power Electronics Lab (UPEL) was founded in 2012 by Dr. Regan Zane, USTAR Professor in the ECE Department at USU. The lab was estabished in conjunction with the Utah State Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative as a world-class energy and power research center. UPEL addresses research challenges that directly impact society, including:

  • Improving efficiency, reducing weight, and extending lifetime and range of electric vehicles
  • Improving battery management systems to extend battery life in devices ranging from smart phones to electric vehicles
  • Improving the efficiency and performance of computing, lighting, and power distribution in data centers and commercial buildings
  • Enabling autonomous operation of miniature wireless sensors
  • Integration of renewable energy sources, improved energy storage, and intelligent controls to increase reliability and capability in AC and DC micro-grids
  • Development of high performance power conversion for military and aerospace applications

UPEL has grown significantly since it was founded, and research partner funding now exceeds $4M. Partners include, but are not limited to:

  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E)
  • Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Raytheon
  • Ford Motor Company

In conjunction with Utah State University, UPEL is developing an educational program for undergraduate and graduate students in Electrical Engineering. Additional courses are added each year as partnerships are formed with other universities to build a world-class program in Power Electronics. Our educational and research partnerships include the following universities:

  • University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
  • Purdue University
  • Olin College