Waterloo selected for autonomous vehicle competition

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The University of Waterloo was named today as one of eight finalists in a North America-wide competition for undergraduate students to develop autonomous passenger vehicles over three years.

Launched by the Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers (SAE) International and sponsored by General Motors, the AutoDrive Challenge will involve work by student teams on donated Chevrolet Bolt EV cars starting in the fall.

Team members at the annoucement in Detroit.

Students (left to right) Krisztian Kurucz, Briar Smith, Ella Rasmussen, Richard Lee, Chad Bissett and Utkarsh Saini joined Professor Derek Rayside (back) for the announcement in Detroit.  Photo: SAE WCX                                                        

Waterloo is one of only two Canadian universities selected for the competition after a call for applications went out across North America last year.

Derek Rayside, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, joined six students for the announcement at the SAE World Congress in Detroit.

Students 'gain first-hand experience'

“Student competitions such as the AutoDrive Challenge allow our undergraduate students to gain first-hand experience while learning from industry leaders like GM Canada,” said Rayside, one of two faculty advisors along with William Melek, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

The goal of the competition is for teams to navigate an urban driving course in automated driving mode after progressively modifying their cars using sensing technologies, computing platforms, software design implementation and advanced computational methods.

Waterloo will be up against teams from the University of Toronto, Kettering University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech.