This article focuses on efforts by automotive manufacturers and engineering students towards developing autonomous vehicles. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has defined different levels of autonomy (SAE J3016 standard), to describe how automated a vehicle is, which have also been adopted by the US Department of Transportation. The purpose of SAE and General Motors (GM) in designing and implementing hands-on engineering design and conducting technology-focused collegiate competition with an emphasis on autonomous driving and the associated technologies´ is to provide a professional development and educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at selected universities. SAE and its sponsors are supporting the competition with training and mentoring. Students are also learning how to work in interdisciplinary teams, which has its own issues. Different academic disciplines approach problems differently, use different techniques, and sometimes even seem to speak a different language. Another important thing about the Challenge is that it lets them see how their courses impact real engineering problems. Students taking a controls course see plenty of Laplace transforms and all sorts of plots—root-locus plots, perhaps Nyquist plots or Bode plots, time domain response plots—but they may not always realize how this links up to real life.

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