A3 team placed third in the Straight-Line Challenge in North American autonomous vehicle competition
SAE International and General Motors announced winners of the first competition of the AutoDrive Challenge™, held April 30-May 5 in Yuma, Ariz. There were three main dynamic challenges in this competition: The straight line challenge, the lateral challenge, and the object detection and avoidance challenge. The Aggiees’ Autonomous Auto (A3) team represented the NC A&T University in this competition and placed third in the straight line challenge among 8 teams from top US and Canada Universities. In the straight line challenge, the autonomous car developed by the team was supposed to fully autonomously follow a 2-mile track in the shortest possible time while appropriately stopping at stop signs.
The autonomous car that was developed by the NC A&T team and won the third place of straight line challenge. The photo shows the car at the at competition held in GM's Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. Photo courtesy of SAE International.
Eight teams pose for a photo at GM's Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. Photo courtesy of SAE International. Photo courtesy of SAE International.
Also, in terms of overall scores in all dynamic and static challenges, the NC A&T team placed 6th among the 8 teams. The overall standings were:
1- Univ of Toronto
2- Texas A&M Univ
3- Virginia Tech
4- Kettering Univ
5- Univ of Waterloo
6- North Carolina A & T State Univ
7- Michigan State Univ
8- Michigan Tech Univ
Despite the efforts to develop fully autonomous vehicles, this industry is still in its infancy. Many companies such as GM, Tesla, Google, etc are investing on this technology to enhance the autonomy levels of autonomous cars. General Motors and SAE organized the Autodrive Challenge to bring universities to this game-changing technologies and to catalyze the development of self-driving cars — a target that can achieved only by the joint collaboration of industries and universities through extensive research and technology developments. “GM is very excited to work closely with these eight universities through Autodrive Challenge,” said Ken Kelzer, GM vice president of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems during the award ceremony. “Being a part of this inspiring effort toward the development of self-driving cars and achieving such a great performance among top US universities in this national competition is an exciting moment for NC A&T University,” said Dr. Robin Coger, the Dean of College of Engineering at NC A&T State University. Dr. Coger added “the NC A&T University and College of Engineering will continue progressive efforts to be at the forefront of developing advance technologies for future transportations systems.”
The AutoDrive Challenge is a three-year challenge to develop and demonstrate a fully autonomous passenger vehicle. The technical goal of this 3-year challenge is to leverage the autonomy level of the car to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode. Through this competition, GM provided NC A&T team with a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and suppliers such as Intel provided the team the vehicle parts and software. “The NC A&T team demonstrated capable and mature technologies during this high-tech competition, which is the reflection of the capabilities of talented students and researchers at NC A&T,” said Dr. Karimoddini the lead of NC A&T team in the Autodrive competition. Dr. Karimoddini added “the team looks forward for the second year competition to demonstrate further developments on autonomous cars.” Next year competition is planned to be held on May 2019, and it targets on enhanced autonomy levels of the self-driving cars by avoiding dynamic obstacles and safely passing through intersections, and challenging road conditions, and multiple lane changing.
About the A3 team
The Aggiees’ Autonomous Auto (A3) team represented the NC A&T University in the Autodrive competition. More than 30 undergraduate and graduate students are involved in this project with different backgrounds and disciplines in 9 groups, including “Image Processing and Learning,” “Software Architecture and Functional Safety Analysis,” “Sensor Integration,” “CPU/FPGA,” “Control and Dynamics,” “Mechanical Design,” “Social Responsibility,” and “Social Media and Outreach.” The team is led by a multidisciplinary team of faculty advisors including Dr. Ali Karimoddini, Dr. Daniel Limbrick, and Dr. Corey Graves from Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Dr. Sun Yi and Mr. Daniel Acree from Mechanical Engineering Departments, and Dr. Younho Seong from Industrial Engineering at the College of Engineering (COE) that all have a strong record of conducting relevant multidisciplinary research in the area of autonomous systems. (To keep up with the progresses are being made under this project, check out the A3 team on Facebook and on the A3 website.)
About the Autodrive Challenge
Throughout the AutoDrive Challenge, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding. The competition consists of 8 teams from select universities that were invited to participate in the inaugural competition.
GM provided each team with a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and supplied students in their technology development by providing integration pieces and software. Throughout the AutoDrive Challenge competition cycle, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology-specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding.
Year one, which began in fall of 2017, focused on concept selection for university teams by having them become familiar with sensing and computation software. They were tasked with completion of a concept design written paper as well as simple missions for on-site evaluation. These simple missions included a stop line challenge, a lane detection challenge and an object avoidance and detection challenge.
In Year 2, the teams will refine their concept selections into solid system developments and will have more challenging dynamic events for testing on-site, including dynamic object detection and multiple lane changing.
Year 3 will culminate with final validation of design and concept refinement. They will navigate complex objectives of on-site testing, including higher speeds, turnabouts and moving object detection.
About General Motors
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.
About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. www.sae.org
NC A&T team cheering for the successful performance of the car in the straight line challenge at GM's Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. Photo courtesy of SAE International. Photo courtesy of SAE International.
The NC A&T team in the award ceremony, held in Phoenix, Arizona. The students Sai Charan Dekkata, Tesfamichael Getahun, Kenneth Lindsay, and Elijah Baker received the award on behalf of NC A&T team.
The NC A&T team in the award ceremony, held in Phoenix, Arizona.
The NC A&T team in the award ceremony, held in Phoenix, Arizona.
NC A&T team placed third in the Straight-Line Challenge in Autodrive Competition.