Design Engineering

Two Canadian universities named finalists in autonomous vehicle design competition


Automation Automotive autonomous vehicle GM

The University of Toronto and Waterloo teams will compete in the three-year long AutoDrive Challenge.

Teams AutoDrive CompetitionThe University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are among eight North American universities who will compete in the upcoming autonomous vehicle design competition, the AutoDrive Challenge.

SAE International and General Motors announced the finalists at WCX 17: SAE World Congress Experience. The design competition will take place over three years where participants will develop and design a fully autonomous driving passenger vehicle.

“Congratulations to the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo on this wonderful achievement, we are very excited to work closely with them over the next three years,” said Brain Tossan, director, Canadian Technical Centre, GM Canada. “We are proud to support SAE International and initiatives such as the AutoDrive Challenge; as we look to grow our Canadian engineering base over the next few years, these student competitions are a great source of talent for us.”

Throughout the competition, students will focus on autonomous technologies and allow for modification and testing. They will work with real-world applications of sensing technologies, computing platforms, software design implementation and advanced computation methods like computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensor fusion and autonomous vehicle controls.


Teams AutoDrive Competition Each team will use a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and suppliers will aid the students in their technology development by providing vehicle parts and software.

Year 1 begins in fall 2017, where teams will focus on concept selection by becoming familiar with their sensing and computation software. They will be tasked with completion of a concept design written paper as well as simple missions for on-site evaluation.

In Year 2, the teams will refine their concept selections into a solid system development and will have more challenging dynamic events for testing onsite including dynamic object detection and multiple lane changing.

Year 3 will culminate with final validation of their design and concept refinement. The teams will navigate complex objectives of on-site testing, including higher speeds, turnabouts, and moving object detection.

The competition’s technical goal is to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level four definition by Year 3.

“SAE International is excited to expand our partnership with GM to build the future STEM workforce through the AutoDrive Challenge,” said Chris Ciuca, director of Pre-Professional Programs at SAE International. This challenge will help launch new platforms to bridge the gap between industry and academia and advance autonomous technologies.

The other finalists include Kettering University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech.


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