University of Toronto and Waterloo finalists to compete in AutoDrive Challenge

Chevy Bolt used as base for the AutoDrive Challenge

General Motors Canada and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) announced two Canadian universities were chosen for the AutoDrive Challenge, University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. The two schools competed in the inaugural competition where they became two of the eight finalists announced at the SAE World Congress.

“Congratulations to the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo on this wonderful achievement,” said Brain Tossan, director of the Canadian Technical Centre for GM Canada, in a press statement. “We are very excited to work closely with you over the next three years.”

AutoDrive Challenge, is a three-year competition to make a fully autonomous driving passenger vehicle. Students will need to focus on, artificial intelligence, computer vision, pattern recognition, sensor fusion and autonomous vehicle controls to complete the challenge. The universities are given a Chevrolet Bolt EV as platform vehicle to work on for the challenge.

For U of T, 100 students will fill out various roles, such as calibrating the sensors and designing software algorithms. School professor Tim Barfoot of U of T’s Institute for Aerospace, believes they have an advantage.

“We have an advantage in that our brand-new facility backs onto a private road,” he said in a statement. “We can do a lot of testing just by opening the garage door.”

Each spring the teams will compete in annual competitions. The first competition will have the teams submit a concept design written paper and have the autonomous vehicle self-drive down a straight open road.  The second competition will be more challenging, the autonomous vehicle will have to change lanes and detect objects. The final competition will have the teams’ autonomous vehicles self-drive through an urban driving course designed by the SAE, the course will have turnabouts, moving objects and the vehicles will be moving at high speeds.

Other finalists are among the following: Kettering University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech.