A Look Back on SAE Demo Days

Over the last week, we teamed up with SAE International and PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education) to host SAE Demo Days in Detroit, MI. Demo Days, which were held in conjunction with WCX 2019 (World Congress Experience), offered a first-hand experience to ride in a Dataspeed autonomous vehicle.

first self-driving vehicle ride
Participants getting ready to enter a self-driving vehicle for the first time.

Riders were able to experience several different types of automated feature demonstrations like stopping for a stop sign and obstacle avoidance on a half-mile course constructed by Dataspeed engineers. Participants also had the opportunity to be an “official backseat driver”. Meaning, they not only experienced the car driving itself, but they also had the ability to steer the vehicle from the backseat. This activity demonstrated how remote operation, or teleoperation, could act as an added backup safety measure in driverless cars. Remote operation would allow for an offsite trained professional to take control of a self-driving car should there be an unforeseen, rare event.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell becoming an “official backseat driver” while remotely steering the vehicle from the backseat.

The weekend leading up to WCX, demonstrations were open to the general public. This event was designed to provide the Detroit community a hands on experience with automated vehicles. The experience reinforces engineering advancements designed to enable safety and shows the differences between ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and automated functions.

We also had the privilege of giving a handful of VIPs their very first ride in an autonomous vehicle. Several members of congress including Haley Stevens, Elissa Slotkin, and Debbie Dingell were among the notable list of attendees. Charles Payne, host of Fox’s Making Money, also experienced a self-driving car for the first time.

With 1,000+ riders and almost 99 miles driven autonomously, we are thrilled to report that the entirety of SAE Demo Days was a huge success. The entire Dataspeed team is proud to have been a part of this initiative by providing the autonomous demonstration vehicles.

Additionally, our very own V.P. of Business Development, David Agnew, participated on a panel discussion regarding “Expanding the Conversation: PAVE and the Need to Inform the Public about Automated Vehicles”. David was joined by Jacob Nelson from AAA, Mircea Gradu from Velodyne, Kelsey Brunette Fiedler from MunichRe, and Mary Moore from SAE. The discussion was moderated by Grayson Brulte on behalf of PAVE.

All in all, we want to thank our partners, SAE International and PAVE, as well as everyone who participated in the demo rides.

You can check out some of the press coverage of the event here.

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