Robotics Industry News
General Motors, Carnegie Mellon Commit To Develop Driverless Vehicles
Robotic Industries Association Posted 06/19/2008
PITTSBURGH—General Motors Corp. and Carnegie Mellon University today announced a new Collaborative Research Lab (CRL) and a renewed commitment to work jointly on technologies that will accelerate the emerging field of autonomous driving — a family of electronics and software technologies that could influence the way drivers and their vehicles interact in the future.
The GM-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab is being established under the terms of a five-year, $5 million agreement. The lab will operate as an extension of GM's Global Research & Development network and will be located at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Faculty from the university’s School of Computer Science and College of Engineering will participate.
“GM and Carnegie Mellon University have a lengthy and successful history of working together on autonomous and robotic technologies,” said Alan Taub, executive director of GM Research & Development in Warren, Mich. “We have a shared vision of developing technologies that have the potential to resolve transportation challenges. Continuing this successful working relationship is a natural next step toward achieving our mutual goals.”
GM teamed with Carnegie Mellon last November to win first place in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, a competition between driverless vehicles over a 55-mile course of urban and suburban roadways held in Victorville, Calif. The race was a historic event for personal transportation, and an emphatic proof point that autonomous technology is real — cars can drive themselves.
“Technologies ranging from electronics, controls and software to wireless capabilities and digital mapping could ultimately change how people drive and use their vehicles,” said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and Strategic Planning. “Imagine being virtually chauffeured safely in your car while doing your e-mail, eating breakfast and watching the news. The work we're doing with Carnegie Mellon is a big stepping stone toward making this a reality.”
“Carnegie Mellon has been a pioneer in autonomous navigation of robotic vehicles, beginning in 1984 with our series of NavLab vehicles,” said Rick McCullough, Carnegie Mellon vice president for research. “We are eager to see this technology used to improve the safety and convenience of the cars and trucks we depend upon every day and we could wish for no better partner than GM to make this happen.”
In 2000, General Motors and Carnegie Mellon established their first CRL to conduct joint research in smart car technology and in 2003 that commitment to work together was renewed. The work of that CRL continues and, though it is separate from the new Autonomous Driving CRL, its success was a factor in the decision to launch the new CRL.
“Carnegie Mellon is one of only 10 academic institutions around the world involved in GM's CRL program,” said Nady Boules, director of the Electrical & Controls Integration Lab at GM R&D and co-director of the new CRL. “Working with the best in a specific field significantly expands GM's technical capabilities in areas we consider strategic.”
“Research in this new lab will focus on creating and maturing the underlying technologies required to build the autonomous vehicle of the future,” said Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie Mellon professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-director of the new CRL. “Autonomous vehicles will change the face of transportation by reducing deaths and injuries from automobile accidents and increasing the convenience and comfort of vehicles.”
About General Motors:
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
About Carnegie Mellon:
Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe. For more, see www.cmu.edu.