Eight Universities have been selected to take part in the AutoDrive Challenge. Virginia Tech is one of the universities that have been selected to take part in the challenge that is sponsored by the Society of the Automotive Engineering and General Motors.
Each team that takes part in the challenge will be given a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, which is an electric vehicle. The teams will then be expected to use the vehicle as a platform in order to develop a passenger vehicle that is completely autonomous. After they have designed the vehicle the teams will then have to take their cars on an urban driving course in order to test the effectiveness of the vehicle while it is in autonomous mode.
The associate professor of mechanical engineering, Al Wicks, is part of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and will lead their team that will be made up of faculty and students in order to compete in the challenge. The team that will be entered will include members form mechanical, electrical, computer, civil and environmental engineering sectors as well as computer science departments. The College of Engineering will provide the Virginia Tech team with the support of a facility.
Al Wick has a plan for his team that could go beyond designing and constructing an autonomous system, he believes that the AutoDrive Challenge offers the opportunity to allow students to work as part of a team that has a variety of different disciplines in order to reach a specific goal. It is thought that the students that take part in this project will gain experience similar to what they’ll be faced with after graduation. The intention is to connect the university courses with the AutoDrive challenge in order to allow the student chance to develop skills that may not be covered by typical engineering courses.