Kettering AutoDrive Team Earns Third Place in Mobility Innovation at AutoDrive II Challenge

Kettering University AutoDrive team

I spoke with multiple companies that are very interested in not only Kettering students but AutoDrive Kettering students with the experience to do what their companies do.”

Team Captain Kevin Patterson (’24, EE)

The Kettering University AutoDrive team, Bulldog Bolt, wrapped up its second year of competition this month, finishing third in Mobility Innovation. Kettering University students work on their car at the AutoDrive II Challenge.

The team and its Chevy Bolt EV competed June 4-10 at MCity in Ann Arbor. The four-year competition, sponsored by SAE International and General Motors, tasks 10 teams with developing and demonstrating a completely autonomous-driving passenger vehicle. Each year, the competition builds on the next by adding more challenges.

The Mobility Innovation Award is based on two items the team submitted. The first is a report on the 0-0-0 Challenge, in which students needed to build on last year’s work by validating the power consumption of the vehicle’s sensors. 

“This is important because the power consumption of sensors impacts the vehicle range, which is a major concern to consumers,” said Dr. Diane Peters, the team’s faculty advisor. 

The Mobility Innovation Award also is based on a video the team produced that focused on finding issues with an autonomous vehicle future and how to sell solutions to lobbyists.

Although it’s the second year of the competition, it’s the first year teams worked with an actual car. During the challenge's first year, the team outfitted a large metal cart with sensors to collect data. 

“Transitioning from the cart to the car presented some challenges,” Peters said. “The perception algorithms developed on the cart could be carried over, but interfacing with the car was a significant challenge as it involved propulsion and steering, which weren’t a factor in the stationary cart. And, of course, safety was critical since we needed to ensure students were always working in a safe environment where the car wouldn’t do anything unexpected.”

Team Captain Kevin Patterson (’24, EE) agreed transitioning from the cart to the car was challenging but is pleased with the team’s results.

“Even though the Kettering AutoDrive team had a tough year, it was impressive how the team performed and how much it faced,” he said. “The biggest takeaway of the year is to keep pushing forward.”

Participating in AutoDrive helps students gain experience and network with others in various industries.

“There is plenty of work to be done, whether it’s designing different mounts for cameras and sensors, real-time project management skills for business majors, and electrical engineering to help design and develop the harness and various electrical components,” Patterson said. 

During the competition, he also met with representatives from sponsoring companies.

“I spoke with multiple companies that are very interested in not only Kettering students but AutoDrive Kettering students with the experience to do what their companies do,” Patterson said. 

The rules for the Year 3 challenge will be released in late summer or early fall. Until then, Peters said students are making a list of things it needs to improve on from this year so they’ll be prepared and ready to get to work.

Kettering University students give a presentation at the AutoDrive II Challenge.