Kettering University Selected to Participate in the AutoDrive Challenge II

Kettering University's AutoDrive car, Bulldog Bolt, sits parked.

Being invited to join AutoDrive Challenge II is critically important to helping us further the development of our advanced mobility systems program.”

Dr. Craig Hoff, Dean of the College of Engineering

On April 12, the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) International and General Motors announced  Kettering University will compete in AutoDrive Challenge II, putting students at the forefront of technological innovation related to the development of autonomous vehicles.

Kettering’s team, Bulldog Bolt, currently is competing among eight universities in the first AutoDrive Challenge that started in 2017 and wraps up its fourth year in June at the University of Michigan’s autonomous vehicle testing facility, MCity.

Teams are recognized in various categories, as well as overall. In the third year of the last AutoDrive Challenge, Bulldog Bolt won first place in the vehicle safety assessment category and second place in the MathWorks Simulation Challenge. Kettering’s team also earned second place for its social responsibility report, third place for its concept design report, third place in the concept design event, second place for its technical reports and second place in the lateral challenge in year one of the competition. In year two, the Bulldog Bolt team won first place for its concept design report and third place in the MCity Challenge.

“Being invited to join AutoDrive Challenge II is critically important to helping us further the development of our advanced mobility systems program,” said Dr. Craig Hoff, Dean of Kettering's College of Engineering. “And it is a great complement to the performance of our students and their faculty advisors in the original AutoDrive Challenge competition. Their hard work and success clearly has impressed the SAE/GM organizers.”

The competition, which is four years long, calls for teams to develop and demonstrate autonomous vehicles that can navigate urban driving courses as described by SAE J3016 Standard Level 4 Automation. Each year, the competition builds on the next by adding more tasks -- and this next challenge actually increased from eight competitors to 10. GM provides each team with a Chevrolet Bolt EUV to use for the competition.

Throughout the competition, students also are given access to national workshops hosted by SAE International and connected with a network of scholars and peers from the nation’s elite schools as they attempt to solve similar challenges.

The other nine universities, including four other returning teams, selected to compete in the AutoDrive Challenge II are:

  • Michigan Technological University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Wisconsin — Madison
  • Queens University
  • Virginia Tech

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off the second series of the AutoDrive Challenge to give even more students networking and mentoring opportunities and hands-on experience as they prepare to enter the mobility industry,” said Chris Ciuca, SAE International Vice President of Programs in a news release. “Autonomous vehicles offer a bright future and as the technology rapidly evolves, it is imperative that the brightest minds are ready to meet the challenges ahead. We are grateful to have GM return as a supporter to help expand this competition, preparing more future engineers to continue to move mobility forward.”

SAE International is a global association committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. By engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers, it connects and educates mobility professionals to enable safe, clean and accessible mobility solutions. It acts on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. SAE strives for a better world through the work of its philanthropic SAE Foundation, including award-winning programs like A World in Motion and the Collegiate Design Series. For more information about SAE International, visit