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SAE International and General Motors launch AutoDrive Challenge II; Level 4 autonomy

SAE International announced the launch of the SAE AutoDrive Challenge II through a continued partnership with GM. Participating university teams will develop and demonstrate an autonomous vehicle (AV) that can navigate urban driving courses as described by SAE J3016 Standard Level 4 automation.

The competition continues the strong partnership between GM and SAE in STEM education and will build on the success of the original AutoDrive Challenge. (Earlier post.)


As part of the commitment from General Motors, selected university teams will receive a new GM vehicle and technical training and mentorship from experienced industry engineers, along with technology, components, analytical tools, knowledge and technical training from additional corporate sponsors.

The AutoDrive Challenge II competition, part of SAE’s Collegiate Design Series (CDS), expands upon the SAE AutoDrive Challenge, which began in 2017 and runs through the middle of 2021.

Recognizing the increased interest in Automated Driving Systems (ADS), software and sensing technologies among universities and students, the next iteration of the AutoDrive Challenge will increase the number of participating students. Teams will be selected using a Request for Proposal (RFP) process which will be open to universities later in 2020. Universities selected as participants will be announced in 2021.

General Motors has been a tremendous innovator and partner for this initiative, so as we open AutoDrive II, their support allows us to broaden the program’s scope and scale to offer students an opportunity for networking, knowledge transfer and mentorship all while working to achieve SAE J3016 Level 4 autonomy. SAE’s AutoDrive Challenge, along with all CDS programs, have proven successful in readying young engineers across the entire mobility landscape to make an immediate impact in their professional careers by solving next generation challenges.

—Chris Ciuca, vice president of programs at SAE International

Throughout the four-year competition, participants are required to meet yearly benchmarks for the design and development of their ADS, while continuing their education through SAE professional development courses.

To participate in AutoDrive Challenge II, participating universities must commit to relevant curriculum, vehicle testing facilities, undergraduate participation, and faculty and graduate student leadership in their proposals. Challenges will begin with simulation and laboratory and will progress toward complicated driving maneuvers and closed course competitions over the 4 years. Students gain valuable experience in ADS design, development and testing.


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