AutoDrive Challenge 2019 review

Company News

June 28, 2019

OxTS reflects on a fruitful visit to the US for year two of the autonomous vehicle competition for university students.

A team of OxTS representatives and support staff is now back in the UK following a rewarding trip to Michigan for the latest round of the AutoDrive Challenge autonomous vehicle design competition.

The AutoDrive Challenge is a three-year student design contest organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International and General Motors. Eight teams from universities across North America have been challenged to develop a fully autonomous car, with the goal of demonstrating SAE Standard Level 4 autonomous driving capability by the end of the competition’s third year.

OxTS took on the role of Official Supplier for 2019, providing each team with a full complement of measuring equipment, including an RT3003 GNSS-aided inertial navigation system (INS), an RT-Range S and an RT-XLAN radio unit. A full installation and technical support package was also provided for the duration of the competition.

This year’s event took place at the University of Michigan’s Mcity proving ground, where students were tasked with completing a series of urban driving challenges while also being scored on other criteria, such as concept design and social responsibility. OxTS’ products played a crucial role in validating the scoring metrics that determined the winners of each driving challenge.

The AutoDrive Challenge has proved to be immensely popular, with students praising both the “awesome sponsors and great people” and the opportunity to gain “hands-on experience with industrial-grade equipment”. The students also praised the support they received throughout the competition.

OxTS commercial manager Danny O’Boyle said: “The AutoDrive Challenge is a great competition. SAE organises the event really well, it runs really smoothly and everyone seems to have a good time. For us at OxTS it’s a great opportunity to work with the automotive engineers of the future – and with 15 students per team, there are plenty of them.

“This was the first year the students got an indication of the data our products can output, so we were able to engage with them and show them what our equipment can do. Many of them were interested in how our products work and some even asked if they could replace some of their own equipment with ours!”

The winner of this year’s round was the University of Toronto’s aUToronto team, which also won the inaugural event in 2018. The team scored highest in all but one of the nine challenges and event categories, including the Pedestrian Challenge, Traffic Control Sign Challenge, Intersection Challenge and Mcity Challenge, and came second in the concept design category.