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PHONE: (775) 629.2000
FAX: (775) 629.2029

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History and Facilities

After heading the Detroit Arsenal's test facility at Camp Bullis near San Antonio, Texas, Henry C. Hodges moved to the Carson City area in 1957 and started the Nevada Automotive Test Center as a division of Hodges Transportation Inc. The site was chosen based on a 1950s Corps of Engineers study which indicated that nearly all of the terrain types found around the world could be accurately represented in northwest Nevada.

Based on its years of experience with on- and off-highway vehicle performance testing, NATC has designed an efficient and productive facility for total vehicle evaluation. NATC's location is uniquely suited to such testing and provides terrain types found throughout the world. Terrain analogs have been established for representative areas in Turkey, Israel, and other locations in the Middle East; China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia and other areas in the Far East; and terrain representative of the North German Plain and central Europe. These areas are all within the contiguous test boundaries of NATC (6,200 deeded acres and access to a million acres of public land. The amount and variation of terrain is extensive, and virtually any required terrain configuration can be simulated naturally without major construction cost. Test course conditions are controlled to provide year-round consistent and repeatable input.

Within a 60-mile radius of the NATC Proving Ground are major interstate highways, state highways, cross-country trails, deserts, and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Sahara, sub-Sahara, Alpine, River Delta, Tundra, Coral, and Savannah test areas are found in this region. There is easy access to Death Valley, 14,000-foot Mt. Whitney, Pacific Ocean beaches, and the wilderness areas of northern California, northern Nevada, southern Idaho, and southeastern Oregon.

NATC's 1.8 mile WesTrack facility, funded by the Federal Highway Administration is established to evaluate experimental asphalt pavement designs, accelerated test and measurement systems, and tire pavement interface characteristics. This facility has supported fully autonomous operations of 150,000 pound commercial tractor trailers (over 825,000 miles) and serves as a platform for validation of new Intelligent Transportation System concepts. Utilizing the technology developed in house for these driverless vehicles, NATC provides vehicle health monitoring systems that allow non-intrusive measurement of vehicles in fleet or customer service.

Local elevations range from 3,900 to 11,000 feet on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and local temperature extremes can average a 70°F differential from desert test areas to mountain test areas. Within one 24-hour period, 50°F temperature differentials can provide stable test conditions at both low and high levels for thermal response studies.

These extremes in terrain and temperature allow testing under conditions similar to those which exist in many parts of the world as formidable obstacles to wheeled and tracked vehicles.

Our dedicated fabrication facility (NFAST) is equipped and staffed to provide complete prototype fabrication and modification for all types of ground vehicle systems. Our team has developed and delivered specialized test equipment including mobile dynamometers, environmental test chambers and fully instrumented vehicles. We have built advanced vehicle prototypes incorporating state of the art technologies required for success in the new millennium.


Nevada Automotive Test Center
a division of Hodges Transportation, Inc.
Post Office Box 234, Carson City, Nevada 89702

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