Virginia Tech Enables CARMA Platform With Dataspeed By-Wire Kit | Dataspeed

The Autonomous Systems and Intelligent Machines (ASIM) Lab at Virginia Tech was kind enough to share their experience of working with Dataspeed for their AV capable Ford Fusion. See below for the article written by the ASIM Lab.

We first came across Dataspeed’s Drive-by-Wire Kit when we decided to build a platform for connected autonomy research and were considering different options for communicating with and controlling our car. We were very impressed with the Drive-by-Wire Kit’s capabilities.

Our main objective with this research vehicle was to implement the CARMA Platform, a ROS-based connected autonomy software developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Getting started was easy, because the Drive-by-Wire Kit was thoroughly documented and the team at Dataspeed was there to answer our questions. 

Virginia Tech Ford Fusion

To enable the CARMA Platform’s communication with our car, we turned to Dataspeed’s ROS packages. With a few modifications, we turned those ROS packages into suitable drivers that allowed the CARMA Platform to communicate with the car, getting feedback from different components, and controlling the vehicle using Dataspeed’s Universal Lat/Lon Controller (ULC) that comes with the Drive-by-Wire Kit. 

CAD image of sensor placement on the ASIM Lab Ford Fusion.

It was a delight working with the team at Dataspeed, as they were very attentive to our needs, not only installing the Drive-by-Wire Kit, but also our perception and navigation sensors and communication equipment, along with their intelligent Power Distribution System (iPDS) to power them. The GUI of the iPDS was indeed user-friendly, and it was convenient for us to use the touchscreen in the cupholder to turn individual sensors on and off, since often we were not using all of them at the same time. 

Sensors Integrated

The setup they put in place made future expansion easy, which came in handy when we decided to upgrade our cameras and add five more. Overall, we have been very satisfied with our experience using Dataspeed’s Drive-by-Wire Kit.


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