A few weeks ago, our friends from VSI Labs stopped by the Dataspeed headquarters with their research vehicle, as part of their Automated Drive Series. The Automated Drive Series is a quarterly, coast-to-coast, and border-to-border mission to analyze the functionality of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and automated vehicle (AV) technologies. The series is a great way to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the variety of technologies that the vehicle is outfitted with, in addition to exposing those technologies to a range of conditions and driving situations. When the VSI team visited Dataspeed, they had just ended the first event of the Automated Drive Series, the Automated Drive North, where they traveled to Ann Arbor, MI via northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Upcoming drives of the series will kick off in September, November, and January. This will include the Automated Drive East to Washington DC, the Automated Drive South which is destined for Texas, and the Automated Drive West to California.
The research vehicle, a 2018 Ford Fusion, is equipped with a Dataspeed Drive-by-Wire Kit in addition to a full stack of sensors including visible cameras, thermal imaging, lidar, radar, and precision localization. The vehicle also includes a ruggedized computer, complete with liquid cooling and tons of data storage that processes and records crucial scenes and sections where the sensors are tested. That recorded data will then be examined post-drive to analyze any challenges that the vehicle was faced with and determine what went wrong.
During the visit we caught up with Phil Magney, President & Founder of VSI Labs, and asked him a few questions about the Automated Drive Series, the vehicle, VSI’s goals, and how Dataspeed has played a role in the drive.