Ohio is vying to become the hub of future vehicle development.

The Transportation Research Center has announced a $45 million expansion that will focus on the development and testing of connected and driverless vehicles.

Located in East Liberty, Ohio, the TRC will use that money to build a 540-acre SMART (Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test) Center on its 4,500 acre proving grounds. The expansion will include the industry's largest high-speed intersection and a reconfigurable test platform that's 50 highway lanes wide and 10 football fields long. Additionally, the TRC will build a network of roads, intersections, roundabouts and traffic signals that will simulate urban, neighborhood and rural environments.

"There's been an explosion of demand for active safety and autonomous testing around the world, and TRC's SMART Center is committed to providing a comprehensive solution to that demand," said Mark-Tami Hotta, CEO of TRC. "As the largest independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in North America, with more than 1,000 customers worldwide, we're experts in testing and validating vehicles. We want to provide the industry and government regulatory agencies every test and infrastructure needed to make automated and autonomous vehicles safe for public roads, as we have been doing for the last 40 years."

The SMART Center will be used to support Columbus' $140 million US Department of Transportation Smart City project that was announced last year. The facility will also be used to craft future autonomous vehicle regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Vehicle manufacturers and suppliers will also be given access to the facility to aid in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Funding for the project is being provided by the state of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation, JobsOhio and The Ohio State University.