MSU to show off autonomous vehicle at Automobili-D

EAST LANSING – At a high-tech show targeting startups that’s a new part of the 2018 North American International Auto Show, Michigan State University researchers will be there to demonstrate advanced technology aiming to overcome even the most challenging driving conditions.

MSU will showcase its autonomous vehicle computer vision and sensor technology in the  AutoMobili-D show being held in connection with NAIAS, Jan. 14-21. At AutoMobili-D, researchers, companies and tech startups showcase their technologies and preview products to an unrivaled concentration of industry players and international media.

Researchers will demonstrate the university’s strength in autonomous sensor technology for “superhuman” situational awareness, including laser-radar “lidar” units creating 3-D maps of the driving environment. The vehicle-mounted sensors gather information that then is processed by advanced algorithms to allow the vehicle to safely maneuver through conditions including snow, heavy traffic, and pedestrian hazards.

“Part of our work focuses on integrating the vehicle with its environment,” said Hayder Radha, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of MSU’s Connected and Autonomous Networked Vehicles for Active Safety, or CANVAS. “MSU is a recognized leader in computer vision, radars and antenna design, and the areas that are at the core of self-driving vehicles like high-assurance computing and related technologies.”

In addition to displaying its 2016 Lincoln MKZ hybrid, Michigan State will show its newest acquisition, a Chevrolet Bolt EV, at the NAIAS Charity Preview Jan. 19. General Motors Co. gifted that vehicle after MSU was selected among just eight North Amercian universities to compete in the AutoDrive Challenge. The three-year competition co-sponsored by engineering association SAE International challenges engineering schools to partner with GM and key suppliers to develop and demonstrate cars that can safely navigate an urban driving course in an automated mode.

“Michigan ranks No. 1 nationally in new automotive-related job growth, in concentrations of mechanical, electrical and industrial engineers and is where 75 percent of the auto industry’s total research and development dollars are spent,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “We are grateful to Magna for providing a place for us to showcase our developing technologies and developing experts too.”

MSU will also send two other student competition vehicles to NAIAS. The Formula SAE team car and the Solar Racing Car team will be on exhibit in separate locations inside Cobo Hall during AutoMobili-D.

Additionally, while at the show, researchers from MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences will launch a major study to research the human component of the autonomous vehicle experience, with a special focus on trust and comfort. The team has developed a virtual reality simulation of the self-driving car experience using Oculus Rift technology. Complete with a city landscape, pedestrians, stop lights and the typical unexpected experiences that happen in everyday traffic, the experience gives the participant the feeling of being a passenger in their own car. The type of research is being done in a growing field called Human Computer Interaction (HCI). HCI is a field of study focusing on the design of computer technology and, in particular, the interaction between humans (the users) and computers.

For more about MSU’s CANVAS research and autonomous vehicle technology development, visit: www.canvas.msu.edu

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