Florida Polytechnic University’s Advanced Mobility Institute has been conducting autonomous research and development with a Dataspeed drive-by-wire equipped Ford Fusion.

This project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. This autonomous capable project vehicle will be driven on Polytechnic Circle which surrounds the campus.

In this project highlight, we talk with Dr. Onur Toker, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, about his experience with Dataspeed and the by-wire enabled autonomous test vehicle. 

I was referred to Dataspeed by a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida.

Heidi Bodell, Dataspeed’s Director of Sales & Marketing, answered all of our questions very quickly and accurately. Additionally, the team’s technical staff was very helpful in guiding us when we needed assistance.

Yes, we started testing in-house development ideas and techniques in late 2022 and completed the first autonomous test in January of 2023. You can see one of our test drives in the video below.

Florida Polytechnic University’s Self-Driving Vehicle Test Drive

It was very helpful. We arranged on-site training with Kevin Hallenbeck, Dataspeed’s lead by-wire engineer, who answered all of our questions. He was so patient, friendly, and cooperative.

We still have a long way to go. There are certain engineering challenges, like high-definition maps, maintaining these maps, the high cost of automotive grade lidars, etc. There are also several ethical and legal issues that should be discussed and resolved. These may take some time, but as AV technology continues to grow, all of these will continue to develop at an accelerated pace.

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), on the other hand, are easier to commercialize. As an additional safety tool, and as a tool to improve driver comfort, ADAS is currently available in several vehicles. Every year we see newer and more exciting ideas in the ADAS field.

I really would like to see more and more AV researchers sharing their observations, experiences, and their hardware and software details. This will lead to much faster development in the AV field. I appreciate when Dataspeed and their AV-focused customers share their experiences to connect like-minded teams – it plays an instrumental role in growing this field.

Learn more about Florida Polytechnic University’s AV project here.


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