Kettering University is one of eight universities around the world selected to participate in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) AutoDrive™ Challenge – an international autonomous vehicle competition.
This newly established, three-year competition will task faculty and students at some of the world’s top universities with developing and demonstrating a fully operational autonomous driving passenger vehicle. The technical goal of the competition is to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode by year three.
“We are honored to be selected by SAE International to participate in this incredible competition,” said Kettering University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan. “Throughout our nearly 100-year history, Kettering University has produced some of the nation’s finest automotive industry leaders, innovators and engineers. Our graduates have made a tremendous, lasting impact on the formation and growth of the American automotive industry, and our participation in this competition will show that our current and future students will continue to be at the forefront of developing the most advanced mobility and vehicle technologies.”
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.
Kettering University is participating in the competition alongside the following schools: Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Virginia Tech.
“Our selection to participate in this competition is an affirmation that Kettering University produces some of the finest engineers, scientists and leaders of any university in the country,” McMahan said. “We are so proud that our students will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities globally through this competition.”
Participation in the AutoDrive Challenge allows Kettering to fund two full-time graduate students and engage up to 30 additional students across multiple disciplines to meet the objectives of the autonomous vehicle challenge.
This challenge puts Kettering students at the forefront of technological innovation related to the development of autonomous vehicles, connects them with a network of scholars and peers from the nation’s elite schools who are attempting to solve similar challenges and provides access to national workshops hosted by SAE International.
Kettering faculty are also currently prospecting opportunities to develop new classes around autonomous vehicles and its associated technologies in order to broaden the impact of the challenge to the entire campus.
Kettering is the only university in the country with an industry-standard proving ground physically located on its campus. Phase one of the Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center (MRC) was completed in the fall of 2016 and phase two is scheduled to be completed in 2017. When completed, the facility will include a low-speed road course with elevation and surface changes, a 3.25 acre test pad built to race track performance specifications and other features aimed at creating diverse testing environments. A garage facility will be constructed to include automotive bays, conference and office space and indoor lab space. The MRC will give students and faculty participating in the competition a unique, state-of-the-art facility to develop their vehicle.
“The combination of our participation in this competition, along with an amazing facility like the MRC, will ensure that Kettering continues to attract and educate the nation’s best and most innovative scientists and engineers,” McMahan said. “Kettering continues to be a key leader in the state of Michigan’s emergence as a key region in the future research and development of new mobility technologies and we are proud to be able to house those efforts on our campus in Flint.”