In late 2021, a lidar manufacturer reached out to Dataspeed with the intent to build up a custom AV capable vehicle that would showcase their latest lidar sensor. The customer was interested in producing a platform for research and development purposes for their new lidar while also collecting data and fusing lidar data with other sensors such as radar. Since they wanted to incorporate a prototype into the vehicle, Dataspeed engineers expertly customized the vehicle to fit their needs. Additionally, the customer needed easy access to the cable entry system located on the roof of the vehicle to be able to add or remove devices with ease.
The customer requested that both the Dataspeed Drive-by-Wire kit and intelligent Power Distribution System were integrated into a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Along with the by-wire kit and iPDS, the vehicle was further decked out with AV sensor integrations.
AV sensor integrations surrounded the exterior of the vehicle. Bumper bars were placed in the front and rear of the vehicle with slotted aluminum fixtures for flexible sensor mounting options. The bumper bars were powder coated to match the vehicle and custom bent to follow vehicle fascia contours. Attached to the front bumper bar are three Continental radars. Dataspeed engineers made sure to include an extra cable at each radar so the customer would be able to cut and re-terminate cables if they choose to use different radars in the future. A tube frame rack was affixed on the vehicle’s roof for flexible sensor mounting and it incorporated the customer’s prototype lidars and a GPS with two antennas. A custom roof cable “halo” entry system was designed for this vehicle. The system allowed the cables to feed through the roof into Icotek grommets which routed neatly into the trunk.
The interior of the vehicle hosted a hardware-heavy trunk. A custom slotted aluminum instrumentation rack was placed in the cargo area with mounting brackets for electronic hardware. It included a 12U rack to support additional hardware and equipment. Within the instrumentation rack was the Dataspeed Shore Power System. The system’s components include a pure sine wave inverter/charger, a charger isolator, a secondary battery, and custom cable sets. Its continuous output can exceed 700W while its peak output is capable of exceeding 1900W. A high output alternator was required to accommodate the intended power consumption. Dataspeed’s iPDS easily slotted into the instrumentation rack while its touchscreen component was placed in the cupholder in the front of the vehicle.
Additionally, the Dataspeed Drive-by-Wire kit was integrated and can conveniently operate the vehicle with a custom controller. The by-wire system uses electronic signals to actuate the vehicle’s braking, steering, shifting, and throttle.
Our customer was extremely pleased with the results of this project and are currently in the process of having an identical vehicle made. Dataspeed’s European partner, Hypermotive, is currently building out the identical vehicle in Germany so they can ultimately conduct AV research with both vehicles on different continents.
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