GM Issues a Challenge To Eight Schools - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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GM Issues a Challenge To Eight Schools



Universities are breeding grounds for innovative thought and cutting edge research with the equipment needed to do some amazing things. GM is hoping to take advantage of that by challenging eight schools to design and build autonomous Chevy Bolt EVs.

Participating schools consists of Michigan Tech, Virginia Tech, the University of Toronto, Texas A&M, the University of Waterloo, Kettering University, the University of Michigan, and North Carolina A&T.

The teams from each respective school has three years to outfit a standard Chevy Bolt EV with the necessary hardware and software to take on the final test of driving around an urban driving course autonomously. They won’t be doing this alone as GM will be supplying the Bolt EV, and partners and suppliers will lend a helping hand by providing vehicle parts and software.

Each of the three years in this challenge has its own milestones the teams must meet.

According to GM’s press release, the first year is focused on creating a paper concept sketch, familiarizing themselves with the sensing and computation software and getting the Bolt to drive down a straight road whilst avoiding obstacles.

Second year will test the vehicles on multiple lane changes and dynamic object detection. Third year will be the culmination of their hard work as the final autonomous Bolt EVs will have to navigate around a complex course with higher speeds, turnabouts and moving object detection.

Of course Chevy will still be working on their own version of the autonomous Bolt in the meantime.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 09:43 PM
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Hmmm... might require some of the kids to get drivers licenses...


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 12:58 PM
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The biggest issues will be the choice and location of the sensors. Ford has been working with autonomous Focus Electrics for years (they have a prototype that parks and returns by itself), and now have produced over 100 Fusion Energis with integrated sensors. Ford bought Velodyne and integrated their LIDARs into the "A" pillars as if they were secondary side mirrors. The cameras are integrated into roof rails. So if you see a Ford Fusion Energi with tall roof rails and a second pair of "side mirrors" (above the true mirrors), then those are autonomous. I expect the future autonomous Bolts having a similar or better integration.

The software is secondary, but Ford has been working on that, too. Instead of using premapped routes (which is what GM has been using), the Fords can analyze real road conditions (including with snow and rain) to avoid obstacles and need no maps to navigate, only for directions. So the Ford system can drive where there are no maps, and is driven for the first time anywhere.

I do hope that will all the autonomy work going on, the SAE, which does the "standardization" for all vehicles, will choose the best features of each system and establish a new standard that all future vehicle can have, thus the final system will have 100% compatible between different brands and models on our roads.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 02:28 PM
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I personally think the whole autonomous driving thing is just industry hype. I have no doubt that the technology can and does work, but let's face it, we live in a litigious society that will sue at the drop of a hat. There is no way the manufacturers are going to let us type in an address and then take a nap in the back seat. We will no doubt still have to be at the wheel and attentive or the car will stop. At some point, what's the point?

Adaptive cruise control is all I need. Maybe my next car, or an aftermarket upgrade some day.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:28 PM
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There is no way the manufacturers are going to let us type in an address and then take a nap in the back seat.
I dunno - some of the auto companies seem to be busy buying up the rideshare companies, and eliminating the driver will make them a lot more profitable.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:49 PM
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I dunno - some of the auto companies seem to be busy buying up the rideshare companies, and eliminating the driver will make them a lot more profitable.
It is a question of time. It will surely happen, but not within the next decade.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 11:11 PM
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It is a question of time. It will surely happen, but not within the next decade.
I used to think the same, but now I'm starting to think we're going to see someone offering this capability in the early 2020s. There's an awful lot of money being invested in the technology by too many companies for something not to happen pretty soon, especially with the kinds of results they seem to be achieving already.

The technology is moving fast. I still remember the DARPA Grand Challenge series, and they were first won only about a decade ago. We seem to be way closer than halfway to the solution now.

I suspect the legal and social issues are probably going to be as big a challenge as what remains of the technological ones.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 12:05 AM
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I dunno - some of the auto companies seem to be busy buying up the rideshare companies, and eliminating the driver will make them a lot more profitable.
True, but they'll change their tune in the light of reality. The first autonomous Lyft Bolt that gets T-boned at an intersection and somebody is permanently injured, or killed, the lawyers will ask, "Did GM really program this thing correctly? Would the outcome have been different with a human driver?". Enough sobbing widow/parents and the jury will cave. Hundreds of millions will change hands and precedent will be set. The next company will not fare as well.

This idea that our country has changed and that we will give corporations with deep pockets a pass as long as a robot is at the wheel baffles me. Think about all the technological problems people are posting about right now with just us driving. Can we really expect a mass produced robot, one built for the purpose of generating maximum profit, to be flawless and 100% safe? Sadly, flawless and 100% safe is what the general public will demand.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 12:34 PM
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True, but they'll change their tune in the light of reality. The first autonomous Lyft Bolt that gets T-boned at an intersection and somebody is permanently injured, or killed, the lawyers will ask, "Did GM really program this thing correctly? Would the outcome have been different with a human driver?". Enough sobbing widow/parents and the jury will cave. Hundreds of millions will change hands and precedent will be set.
I'm not so sure about that. Firstly, the autonomous car will likely have pretty comprehensive logging so as to make it pretty clear who's at fault. Secondly, the auto manufacturers are unlikely to actually release production vehicles until they're pretty sure they're ready. Thirdly, I expect that it won't take too long to discover that most accidents are still caused by humans. For example, the only way a "t-bone" accident such as you describe would be the autonomous car's fault would be if it violated a stop sign or traffic light, and that's probably one of the most unlikely scenarios. A far more likely scenario for contention is the car getting into a situation (likely precipitated by a human cutting it off or some such issue) where it has to choose the lesser of two evils, either of which would cause a public outcry.

There are bound to be some controversial cases come up as the technology is adopted, and it's going to be interesting to watch. But I expect that the outcome is going to be that autonomous cars will be found to be safer than human-driven cars, especially in this age where driver distractions seem to be multiplying and threatening impaired driving for the number one cause of accidents.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 01:54 PM
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True, but they'll change their tune in the light of reality. The first autonomous Lyft Bolt that gets T-boned at an intersection and somebody is permanently injured, or killed, the lawyers will ask, "Did GM really program this thing correctly? Would the outcome have been different with a human driver?". Enough sobbing widow/parents and the jury will cave. Hundreds of millions will change hands and precedent will be set. The next company will not fare as well.
I read and chuckled at your post. if the Bolt gets hit, who cares about the driver or no driver issue? The other car is at fault. That same "outcome" issue can apply if you get "T-boned" today and you are asked what if your wife was driving. A car without a driver passes the blame to the owner, just as if your car lost its parking lock, crawls by itself, and hits another car or a pedestrian. GM or any other brand will sell the autonomous car and pass the responsibility to the buyer, as it has been done for over 100 years for regular cars. So if you don't want your autonomous car involved in any accident, don't buy it!

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