Buckeye AutoDrive team cruises to 2nd place in national competition

Posted: June 17, 2022

In their first year as a team, engineering students at The Ohio State University earned second place honors in the SAE AutoDrive Challenge II.

Team members with their awards

Sponsored by SAE International and General Motors, Ohio State and nine other universities are challenged with developing and demonstrating an autonomous vehicle (AV) that can navigate urban driving courses, as described by SAE Level 4 automation, in this four-year competition.

Year one of the competition week was held June 6-12 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and focused on the initial skillset required for designing and developing AVs. During the weeklong competition, the teams were tasked with achieving three objectives with a system integrated into a portable cart.

A Traffic Light Challenge entailed the cart being placed at intersections with various types and locations of traffic lights. The teams were scored on their accuracy of reporting the traffic light status over controller area network (CAN) communication. During the Highway Challenge, the cart was placed at multiple locations on the highway section of Ann Arbor’s Mcity. Traffic barrels, cones, signs and static vehicles occupied the road, and teams were judged on the accuracy of reporting these object locations over CAN communication. And finally, in the Dynamic Obstacle Challenge the carts were placed in three locations, and the teams were required to accurately track and report their locations over CAN.

The teams were also required to give presentations on the MathWorks Simulation Challenge, where they performed waypoint following, requirement traceability, collision avoidance, traffic light and sign interaction, and route planning, as well as a concept design report and project management report.

autonomous vehicle on the test track
An example of situations thrown at the students’ cars at the Mcity autonomous test facility: the teams' autonomous cars had to recognize a pedestrian, project it’s likely path, and decide a course of action.

“In their first year in the AutoDrive Competition, I was impressed with the team’s showing, especially in the static events,” said Ohio State’s General Motors team mentor and engineering alumnus, Alex Pax. “The team did well distributing the workload and allowing many students to be involved in different aspects. I would also like to commend the faculty on their leadership and guidance throughout the year.”

The Buckeye AutoDrive team is comprised of undergraduate, masters and PhD students from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Industrial Systems Engineering (ISE). They are advised by Research Associate Professor Qadeer Ahmed (MAE), Associate Professor Lisa Fiorintini (ECE) and Assistant Professor Harry Chao (CSE) .

The Buckeyes also were recognized for outstanding performance across various events throughout the competition, taking home an impressive six awards overall.

  • 2nd place: Year 1 Overall Static Events
  • 2nd place: Systems Safety & Technology Reports
  • 3rd place: Dynamic Obstacle Challenge
  • 3rd place: MathWorks Simulation Challenge
  • 2nd place: Project Management Report

“It was really amazing to see how the team kept themselves composed during the high pressure times," said Ahmed. “It was an amazing team effort and the team leads deserve much of the credit! They got a good taste of how things go in real life!”

in collaboration with Colleen Herr, Center for Automotive Research

Tag: mobility