Kettering Students Ready for Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition

Kettering University students work on their intelligent ground vehicle.

This year’s Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) team has some big shoes to fill. 

The team consists of undergraduate and graduate students in the Introduction to Autonomous Driving (CE-451 and CE-651) classes. Last year’s team placed second in the Self-Drive Challenge, earning the grand award Lescoe Trophy, and took fourth place in the Self-Drive Design Competition.

“We’ve got a lot of core things down, but we’re trying to set our sights higher,” said Henry Grasman (’24, Computer Engineering), who works on the functional integration group.

The students will put their skills to the test June 2-5 at the 30th Annual IGVC at Oakland University in Rochester. Students design, develop, document, test and sell systems engineering projects for the competition. IGVC features two challenges: the AutoNav Challenge and the Self-Drive Challenge. This is the third year Kettering is competing in the Self-Drive Challenge in which competitors adapt U.S. Army-provided software to develop an autonomous golf cart.

Overall, the students said they appreciate the hands-on work and can see how these skills will be useful in their future careers.

“Autonomous vehicles are the future,” said Nicholas Switalski (’24, Computer Engineering), citing Apple and Tesla as examples. “To keep job security, you have to learn this to enhance your career.”

Grasman added, “It’s probably the closest to real work experience we get outside of our co-ops, and we’re really working on innovative stuff here.”

Mobility Systems graduate student Praveen Muthiah is confident this year will be as successful as last year. 

Muthiah is an international student from India. He said he has enjoyed working with the other graduate students from India and the undergraduate exchange students from Germany.

Michael Stober and his classmate, Luka Henig, arrived in March and will return to Hochschule Esslingen in Esslingen, Germany in mid-June. They work on the lidar and mapping group.

“We want it to be good, so we’re putting everything into it,” Stober said.

He and Henig said they’ve enjoyed the class.

“The teamwork is nice,” Henig said. “It’s better than just doing assignments on our own.”

Nathan Bunker (’23, Computer Engineering) works on the main course navigation group. 

“It’s been cool working with the exchange students and having those different experiences,” he said.