Back to Posts
April 11, 2018

International Recognition of our Autonomous Driving Expertise

Two engineers from the Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI) were chosen to represent Canada at the first-ever autonomous driving Move-It Hackathon, which was held in Guiyang, China, a city dubbed the “Big Data Valley of China”. More than 30 engineers from 11 different countries toiled feverishly to modify the electronic systems of a 2016 Honda Civic and a small Kayun Pickman pickup truck to make them self-driving in just five days.

Knowledge Sharing

Since 2014, the number of companies using Big Data in this area has literally exploded, increasing from 1000 to 8900. The objective of Chinese self-driving start-up PIX Moving, which organized the event, was to make self-driving technology more accessible and affordable for academic researchers and start-ups by developing a conversion kit. They created an event that attracted talented engineers from around the globe so they could share knowledge and work together.

“What an experience!  This event allowed us to network, increase our knowledge base and validate our work by confirming that we are on the right track, while also helping us realize that we already possess valuable expertise. We got people to take notice, which opened the door to future collaborations,” elaborated IVI engineer and project manager Marion Landry, P.Eng. M.Eng.

Colossal Technological Challenge

The teams had to master the software communication protocols of two very different vehicles and systems in order to program functions and receive vehicle operating data, modify electronic systems and reprogram CAN bus communication to allow new functions. They also installed navigation components, including 360o 3D LiDAR and a camera, which allowed them to map the testing area to detect the landmarks required for navigation (buildings, topography, etc.).

“We achieved level-3 autonomy, which requires that a person remain alert to intervene if required. The pickup truck was able to move forward and brake for obstacles both indoors and outdoors, while the Civic acquired Drive-by-Wire and was controllable using a video game controller,” explained IVI engineer and project manager Pier-Marc Comtois-Rivet, Jr. Eng., M. A. Sc.

Technological Revolution in Road Transportation

Autonomous vehicles will be an important part of this technological revolution. In 2010, Google was the first company to develop a driverless-vehicle prototype circulating on public roads. Vehicle manufacturers are quickly jumping onto the autonomous-vehicle bandwagon, including Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Daimler, Tesla, BMW, PSA, Volvo, etc., as well as mobility solution companies such as Uber, Waymo, Baidu and nuTonomy.

“These disruptive technologies will have a profound impact on mobility, but we must remain cautious, as there is still much work to be done before vehicles acquire the ability to move around without human intervention,” points-out IVI General Manager, François Adam, P.Eng.

Quebec Positioned as Specialisez Vehicle Leader

The experience acquired while developing autonomous vehicles transfers directly to the development of more specialized vehicles, which is the defining characteristic of this industrial sector in the province of Quebec. For example, with the Elmec company, we are developing an autonomous electric farm vehicle with similar technological challenges, while also benefitting from an operational environment which has fewer variables. Other projects are also being developed, come take a look…