What is going on at SCTAC? While longtime Greenvillians still refer to the global business campus off Augusta Road as “Donaldson Center,” it is now the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (SCTAC), with more than 80 businesses in operation, notably Lockheed Martin. Last week you read about the F-16 Fighting Falcon production line in full swing with 500 employees. While the test fighters conduct flyover trials, beneath those fighter jets is a ground test track — the International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC) — for all types of ground vehicles.
Who came up with the concept of ITIC, and what is it used for? In 2007, SCTAC rolled out a global economic development strategy that was designed to recruit industry from around the world. After learning about the needs of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and local automotive suppliers to access an automotive test track, SCTAC President and CEO Jody Bryson opened up the possibility of transforming a long-dormant airport runway on the property of SCTAC into an automotive test track. Everyone loved the idea, and ITIC was conceived as an open, collaborative automotive test bed to serve the automotive industry of South Carolina and beyond.
Is ITIC the only nonprofit automotive test bed? There are a handful of other nonprofit automotive test beds in the U.S. and around the world, but ITIC is the only one in South Carolina.
Why is it a nonprofit? ITIC is a 501c3 organization and leases property from SCTAC. The majority of property of SCTAC is either privately owned or under lease. For example, Michelin and 3M own their buildings. The remaining part is owned by the City and County of Greenville and there is a joint ordinance that SCTAC act as a governing organization. Elected officials appoint the board that oversee policy and approve an annual budget. This industrial park has grown from an army base in World War II to a powerful manufacturing and testing hub.
What type of testing occurs at ITIC? Thousands of test hours must be logged prior to sending new models on the road. The test track has been used by local companies such as electric bus manufacturer Proterra. Electric vehicles have various charging stations — both stationary charging and in-motion testing types — that must be evaluated. Autonomous vehicles are tested. In addition, law enforcement agencies such as the Greenville Police Department have used the track for simulating high-speed chase maneuvering. Others that have used the track include the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cisco, Toyota, Duke Energy and CU-ICAR.
How many tracks are there? Currently, there is a 1-mile long by 300-foot wide asphalt straightaway track that can be divided into multiple sections for multiple types of testing to occur at once. There are also concrete straightaways that run parallel to the track, and there is an off-road area that can be used near the main track areas.
Did you know… that SCTAC and ITIC have their own dedicated fire department? It is a department of two stations and 20 firefighters trained in aviation emergencies, hazardous materials and various first-responder needs of the business park.
Who can use ITIC? Any organization that has a need for an automotive testing facility is welcome to use ITIC. Manufacturers, suppliers, research universities and startups can utilize the vast areas of testing. It has competitive pricing, and the staff is super accommodating. (Some companies need to test at night.)
Can the public watch these tests? That would be wayyyyy cool, but no. The public is not permitted to view the testing because many of the models are in development and ITIC management protects its customer confidentiality. But you can view some of the video the company uses to showcase the track at vimeo.com/440081980.
Are you a Greenville Spinner? The local road bike group, Greenville Spinners, hosts SCTAC rides Tuesday nights beginning each Spring. They have three great country loops from SCTAC Perimeter Road; they are rolling, low trafficked and well marked and available on their web site. More information is available at GreenvilleSpinners.org. A great way to see some activity in the business parks is by bike!
Amy Ryberg Doyle served for 12 years on Greenville City Council. She is married and has four children. An outdoors enthu-siast, she likes to bike, swim and run, but not all in that order. She power-naps daily.