In late 2021, Dataspeed won the bid to work on University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s (UIUC) project to improve safety throughout the roadway system. The goal of the project was to develop a systematic and scalable approach to the safe integration of cooperative automated vehicles (CAVs) into the nation’s transportation system.
To achieve this goal, UIUC needed four autonomous vehicles, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee and three Chrysler Pacificas. To outfit these vehicles with the technology required for autonomous capabilities, our engineers integrated Dataspeed’s Drive-by-Wire (DBW) Kits and full sensor suites.
What technology is involved in adapting these ordinary vehicles into autonomous driving testing and development vehicles?
Dataspeed’s DBW Kit was integrated into the vehicles for seamless electronic control of the brake, throttle, steering, and shifting. Each vehicle conveniently holds a sleek iPDS touchscreen in one of the front cupholders which enables channel control and status of the iPDS unit. An additional monitor that is connected to a computing unit is placed in the remaining cupholder for sensor data viewing. Two further monitors were mounted to the headrests of the front seats for easy backseat viewing of sensor data during testing.
In the trunk of each vehicle, an instrumentation rack is loaded with hardware. It consists of Dataspeed’s iPDS, a computing unit, and a shore power system with a secondary battery. The instrumentation rack is protected by easily removable covers. Additionally, a cable routing/entry system is placed in the rear of the vehicle with roof access for the sensor suite on top of the vehicle.
A tube frame roof rack is affixed to the top of the vehicle to easily mount and adjust sensors such as three Ouster OS1-32 lidars, five cameras, an LTE antenna, and a GNSS unit. Front and rear bumper bars are placed on each vehicle with a Continental radar mounted in the front. Sensor calibration was also performed, and the position and orientation of each sensor was provided to the customer in a ROS environment.
Dataspeed has finished integrating two of the project vehicles and will complete the remaining vehicles in the next few months. With these heavily equipped testing and development vehicles in hand, UIUC is successfully on its way to achieving a higher safety standard for CAVs for the nation’s transportation system.
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