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Vaughn Helps Advance Testing of US Defense Capabilities with Completion of the Innovative Proving Ground at the Texas A&M University RELLIS Campus


The Texas A&M University RELLIS Campus (RELLIS) recently completed their new BCDC Innovative Proving Ground (IPG), for which Vaughn Construction served as the construction manager-at-risk. This project is a key part of RELLIS’ George H. W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC), which aims to advance the United States’ defense and security capabilities. To support forward momentum and modernization within the Army and commercial industry, the 95-acre IPG includes spaces for autonomous vehicle prototype development, testing, and evaluation.

The project consists of two main sites: a mobility challenge course and an off-road test area. Each site has a dedicated observation tower and storage building, and each site is designed to assess the performance of prototypes in realistic conditions.

At the mobility challenge course, prototypes will face a diverse set of obstacles that mimic the challenges found on the battlefield, including shallow bodies of water, uneven roads, and sloping roads. This course will help test prototypes for maneuverability, durability, performance, and autonomous decision-making.


The mobility challenge course also includes a small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) course containing smaller replicas of the mobility course’s obstacles. The SUGV course is used to test smaller robotic prototypes. It includes an above-ground tunnel system and a below-ground tunnel system, which can be flooded and used to test the performance of the prototypes under flood conditions.

At the off-road test area, prototypes will have to navigate various challenging real-life conditions, like boulders, ponds, and hills. This area will help test the prototypes’ ability to coordinate and carry out tasks.

Our team encountered several challenges during the project, from dealing with existing conditions to self-performing the project’s largest scope of work. We worked hard to overcome these hurdles and WOW the Owner, and as a result, this project will continue to support research and innovation for years to come.