College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; External Affairs

Clemson, U.S. Army GVSC Expand Research Partnership for Next-Generation Autonomous Vehicles


A woman and three men stand in front of a giant screen that reads Accelerating the Future Through the Virtual Prototyping of Autonomous Vehicles. This is for the Clemson Army Partnership and includes Angie Leidinger, President Jim Clements, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham, U.S. Army Chief Scientist David Gorsich
L-R: Clemson University Vice President for External Affairs Angie Leidinger, Clemson University President Jim Clements, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, U.S. Army GVSC Chief Scientist David Gorsich
Download image
$40M has been invested to support the University’s Virtual Prototyping of Ground Systems (VIPR-GS) Center

Clemson University and the United States Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) announced an additional $22 million for a research partnership aimed at developing innovative virtual prototyping tools for designing the next generation of on- and off-road vehicles, with the U.S. government committing up to $100 million to the project. The U.S. Army contributed an initial $18 million for the center in 2020. An additional $22 million committed in 2021 was formally obligated on February 24, 2022. The Virtual Prototyping of autonomy-enabled Grounds Systems (VIPR-GS) Research Center at Clemson University is providing new simulation and digital engineering capabilities, as well as hardware demonstrations to increase efficiency in design-to-build processes in support of GVSC’s ambitious goals for rapid modernization of U.S. Army fleets.

Clemson University President Jim Clements and U.S. Army GVSC chief scientist David Gorsich made the announcement. They were joined by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and Zoran Filipi, founding director, Virtual Prototyping of Ground Systems (VIPR-GS) Center. The announcement took place at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus in Greenville, South Carolina.

The VIPR-GS Center on the CU-ICAR campus is the next frontier of University research collaborations — supporting the Army’s priority of developing the next generation of combat vehicles through advanced autonomous systems. I thank Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Jim Clyburn for their leadership on this project and their continued support of our research efforts.


“The research endeavors at our main campus and innovation campuses throughout the state leverage the talent of our faculty, staff and students to equip our government and industry partners with the tools and workforce of the future,” continued Clements.

The recent allocation of funding brings the current commitment to Clemson from the Army to $40 million for VIPR-GS. In the year since the VIPR-GS Center was first announced, 65 faculty and 74 master’s and Ph.D. students have been added to support the research goals of advancing autonomous ground vehicle systems.

The deployment of autonomous vehicles is a priority for the United States Army, and Dr. Filipi and the Clemson VIPR-GS team are uniquely positioned to facilitate the rapid development of virtual prototyping to expedite the technology roadmap development and transformation of U.S. Army ground vehicles. Additionally, advanced digital modeling and testing capabilities allow engineers to ‘fail early and cheaply,’ shaking out the best, most robust solutions more quickly before bending metal in physical prototyping.


Research at the VIPR-GS Center is focused on autonomy-enabled ground vehicles, next-generation propulsion and energy systems, manned and unmanned teaming in unpredictable off-road environments, innovative simulations, and digital engineering tools to design off-road vehicle fleet’s systems of systems. The Department of Automotive Engineering’s hallmark Deep Orange program in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson engages students in hardware demonstrations and will provide a full-scale testbed for validating research outcomes.

In addition to Gorsich, U.S. Army leaders who traveled to the VIPR-GS Center for the announcement included:

  • Jeffrey Jaster – Deputy Executive Director, DEVCOM GVSC Research, Technology and Integration.
  • Denise Rizzo – S&T Fellow for the Office of the Chief Scientist, U.S. Army DEVCOM GVSC.
  • Shruti Jha – Congressional Lead, U.S. Army DEVCOM GVSC.


Additional Quotes

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

“Clemson University has a long and proud military tradition. I’m very pleased that the U.S. Army and Clemson will be working together on this important project. The work they are doing will help save the lives of American service members in years to come.”

U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn

“I was pleased to support funding for Clemson University’s extraordinary work to help develop cutting-edge technology that will enhance our military capabilities and save lives. Clemson has demonstrated that they have the capacity and the expertise to be a leader in this innovative research, and this investment will enable them to use those resources to modernize our military fleet.”

Anand Gramopadhye, Dean of Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences 

“This partnership highlights the remarkable, multidisciplinary research that faculty and students across the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences — where VIPR-GS resides — are conducting in crucial areas, including autonomous, connected and electrified vehicles. Through this partnership, we are transforming the field of transportation and creating the engineering leaders of the future.”

Zoran Filipi, Founding Director of Clemson’s VIPR-GS lab; former Chair of the Department of Automotive Engineering in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

“Part of our DNA in Clemson Engineering is the commitment to work on things that matter, transform and save lives. Rapid transformation of vehicle systems, on- or off-road, calls on us to do just that, develop digital engineering tools that will dramatically accelerate the design cycle and unleash tremendous potential for innovation.

“We appreciate the grand challenge brought to us by Dr. Gorsich and GVSC and could not be more excited about the opportunities to be at the forefront of research and experiential learning in the automotive space.”

About Clemson’s VIPR-GS Center

Virtual Prototyping of Ground Systems (VIPR-GS) Center is housed at Clemson University’s CU-ICAR innovation campus in Greenville, South Carolina, with additional research facilities spread over the main campus and the CURI campus at Charleston. In 2020, the Army awarded Clemson $18 million to create VIPR-GS, which includes more than 65 Clemson faculty across eight departments in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and three departments in the College of Science collaborating on the multi-year research with GVSC. To date, 74 students have been selected to participate in the research, with more to be included in the coming months and years. The Cooperative Agreement between GVSC and Clemson University establishes a five-year horizon and a $100 million ceiling.

VIPR-GS is led by founding director Zoran Filipi, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Automotive Engineering at Clemson, and a team of six senior faculty overseeing research efforts on site. The VIPR-GS program manager is Jeff Linden, who is also an automotive engineer.


CU-ICAR, recognized as an example of five Global Best Practices by the National Academies of Sciences, was built through investments from founding University partners BMW, Michelin, Timken and commitment from the State of South Carolina, Clemson University and the Clemson University Real Estate Foundation. With an overarching goal of becoming the premier automotive research and educational enterprise in the world, since its creation, CU-ICAR has been home to the award-winning Deep Orange Program, has created over 830 jobs, and has provided research and support for companies like BMW, Ford, Siemens and Michelin.

About Clemson University

One of the most productive public research universities in the nation, Clemson University enrolls 27,341 students across the State of South Carolina and has an endowment of over $1 billion. The University operates Extension offices in every county of the state and has five innovation campuses and six Research and Education Center locations. Classified as an R1 — Very High Research University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching — Clemson is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Our main campus, located in Upstate South Carolina, sits on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the shores of Lake Hartwell. Through the research, outreach and entrepreneurial projects led by our faculty and students, Clemson University is driving economic development and improving quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. For more information, go to

About the U.S. Army GVSC

Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVCS), located in Warren, Michigan, is the United States Armed Forces’ research and development facility for advanced technology in ground systems. The U.S. Army DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC). GVSC shares its facilities with the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). Current technology focus areas include Power and Mobility, Autonomous Systems, Force Projection, Survivability, Electronics and Architecture, Cyber Engineering and Software Integration.