GM and Carnegie Mellon commit to development of driverless vehicles


The GM-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving CRL 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. The university's School of Computer Science and College of Engineering faculties will participate.

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 & strategic planning, adding that the work GM is doing with Carnegie Melon is a big stepping stone towards making virtual chauffeurs a reality.

Carnegie Mellon's involvement in autonomous navigation of robotic vehicles began in 1984 with its series of NavLab vehicles. In 2000, GM 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 CRL's work continues and, although 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 ten 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."

According to said Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie Mellon professor of electrical & computer engineering and co-director of the new CRL, research in the new lab will focus on creating and maturing the underlying technologies required to build the autonomous vehicle of the future.

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