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UW research team helps launch new autonomous vehicle at CES

Last Updated Jan 4, 2017 at 3:38 pm EDT

Researchers from the University of Waterloo created computer programs and mechanisms to enable the car to operate autonomously in different driving scenarios. (Photo credit: investStratford/Terry Manzo)

A team from the University of Waterloo is in Las Vegas, demonstrating a new self-driving vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show.

BlackBerry-owned QNX worked with Renesas, the University of Waterloo and Polysync to develop the prototype vehicle.

More than 25 UW researchers helped work on the car including professors Sebastian Fischmeister and Steven Waslander, from Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering, and Krzysztof Czarnecki, cross-appointed to Waterloo Engineering and the Cheriton School of Computer Science in the Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics.

The car uses the same base model as UW’s Autonomoose, the first self-driving car approved for testing on public roads in Canada, and is able to detect and respond to other vehicles, stop signs, and traffic lights.

Professor Steven Waslander says team isn’t only showing off the technology, but also the talent our region has to offer.

“It’s a great place for Waterloo to be, we’re a innovative school doing a lot of really interesting things,” says Waslander. “I’ve brought all 20 students down to CES and they’ll be the drivers in the car, as well as manning the booths and interacting with the companies and executives that are coming through.”

He says the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) has seen significant growth this year.

“This is an area that’s exploding at Waterloo,” says Waslander. “We have a team of about ten faculty now that are all involved in autonomous driving research, but things have accelerated really quickly this year, in large part due to this Renesas project.”