Posts Tagged: Angela Schoellig

U of T Engineering to compete in SAE AutoDrive Challenge™ II

U of T's Zeus self-driving electric car

Zeus, a self-driving electric car created by a team of students from U of T Engineering, dominated the first series of the intercollegiate Autodrive Challenge. Now, the team is preparing to compete in the SAE Autodrive Challenge II. (Photo: Chude Qian)


By Tyler Irving

For the last three years, U of T Engineering has been leading the pack in the Autodrive Challenge, an intercollegiate competition to create a self-driving electric car. Now, they’re gearing up for the next round.

“We’ll have a new car, we’ll face new teams, and we’ll need to meet new challenges, probably more sophisticated ones,” says Jingxing “Joe” Qian (EngSci 1T8 + PEY, UTIAS MASc candidate), Team Lead for aUToronto, U of T’s self-driving car team. “But I think we’re well prepared.”

The general concept for SAE AutoDrive Challenge™ II, which is sponsored by SAE International and General Motors, will be similar to the original. Teams will receive an electric vehicle – the team’s award-winning entry in the first round was a Chevrolet Bolt that they named “Zeus” – along with sensors and certain software packages.

Their task is to integrate these components and enable the car to meet certain standards, such as recognizing and obeying stop signs or arriving at a sequence of pre-determined address points.

The aUToronto team — which has more than 60 members, including Professors Tim Barfoot, Angela Schoellig and Steven Waslander (all UTIAS) as faculty supervisors and Keenan Burnett (EngSci 1T6+PEY, UTIAS PhD candidate) as a graduate advisor  — has a track record of success. Zeus has placed first in all of the yearly meets held so far: the 2018 meet in Yuma, Ariz., the 2019 meet in Ann Arbour, Mich., and a virtual competition held last fall.

There is a fourth meet currently scheduled for June 2021. The SAE AutoDrive Challenge™ II will begin in fall 2021.

For more than a year now, most of the work on Zeus has been done remotely. Sub-teams such as perception, control and simulation coordinate their work using a variety of tools, meeting all together weekly to update each other on progress.

A small task force takes turns physically visiting the vehicle, which is housed at the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies, near Downsview Airport.

“It’s been a challenging time to work on this project,” says Qian. “Deliverables such as demonstration videos have become really important. They help our teams see that the changes they make have an impact on how the car behaves in a real-world environment.”

The other institutions competing in SAE AutoDrive Challenge II include Kettering University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State, Penn State, Queen’s University, Texas A & M, Ohio State, the University of Wisconsin and Virginia Tech. Qian is optimistic about aUToronto’s chances.

“I’m very proud of all the effort the team, and the university, have put into this project over the past few years,” says Qian. “I think we deserve to enter the second round, and I’m really excited to get started.”


This story originally appeared in the U of T Engineering News.

Leading minds share their thoughts at ESEC 2017

The Engineering Science Education Conference (ESEC) exposes young students to a broad spectrum of engineering fields, inspiring them to discover their own interests. (Photo: Ben Ouyang, EngSci 1T2 PEY)

Flying machines, NBA basketball analytics, and automated traffic control–these are just some of the topics explored at this year’s Engineering Science Education Conference (ESEC).

See photos from the event.

Over the last twelve years ESEC has grown to be one of the cornerstones of the EngSci experience. This lively, day-long event brings leading minds from a wide range of engineering disciplines to Toronto to share their insights with EngSci students. “ESEC is an important EngSci tradition and we are so happy to hold this event each year,” says Professor Deepa Kundur, Chair of the Division. “This year’s speakers were outstanding and our students were well deserving of the experience to listen to an interact with eminent members of their fields.” For students in the foundation years, this is a rare chance to hear about current research and career trends from thought leaders in their respective areas.

ESEC 2017 speakers (left to right): Brian Yutko, Cameron Piron, Eric Khoury, Paul Johns, Angela Schoellig and Donald Sadoway. Not pictured: Baher Abdulhai and Avanindra Utukuri. (Photo: Ben Ouyang, EngSci 1T2 PEY)

Wasn’t able to attend?
Click here to watch the videos of ESEC speaker Donald Sadoway (7T2) presenting his work on liquid metal batteries, or Eric Khoury (1T0) talking about how he uses data analytics to help the Toronto Raptors.

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