Arizona-Intel Collaboration to Launch Driverless Research Institute

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【Summary】The institute is designed to bring together leaders in the self-driving sector, which includes car manufacturers, universities and state agencies.

Michael Cheng    Oct 17, 2018 4:12 PM PT
Arizona-Intel Collaboration to Launch Driverless Research Institute

Arizona is quickly becoming a hotspot for automotive companies and developers of autonomous vehicles. In order to solidify the state's status as a tech center for driverless cars, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is planning to launch a major research program.

During the DesTechAZ technology conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, Governor Ducey announced the establishment of the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM). The institute is designed to bring together leaders in the self-driving sector, which includes car manufacturers, universities and state agencies. Tech giant Intel will also join the consortium as an investor, founder and active member.

Other founders include the following: Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. The Arizona Commerce Authority is tasked with overseeing activities within the consortium.

Partnership with Intel

To kick start the program, Arizona will allocate $1.5 million to various projects. Intel will also invest an undisclosed amount to the research institute. The tech company's role in IAM is crucial, as it will take on foundational aspects of autonomous vehicles – from the technology itself to the policies and standards that promote it. Moreover, Intel plans to leverage Mobileye's Responsibility Sensitive Safety (RSS) model to enable other participants to build their own driverless solutions.

"The Institute for Automated Mobility will bring together global industry leaders, a public-sector team and the brightest minds in academia, focused on advancing all aspects of automated vehicle science, safety and policy," said Governor Ducey in a statement.

"Arizona is committed to providing the leadership and knowledge necessary to integrate these technologies into the world's transportation systems."

Ducey's support for autonomous vehicles could give Arizona an economic boost. IAM may serve as an economic development tool for the state, as it aims to attract tech startups and automotive businesses to the area.

First Responders and New Infrastructure

The institute will be made up of networks of research centers dedicated to specific aspects of autonomous vehicles. One of these centers will look into driverless applications in law enforcement and first responders, such as ambulances and fire trucks. The department will be managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

"We have the spirit of collaboration which is seamless between corporate industry, government," explained Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Arizona State University. 

"All disciplines have to come together … to truly build a sustainable and innovative solution."

New infrastructure for testing will be provided to IAM researchers. According to ABC15 Arizona, the site will focus on autonomous trials for cars. In the future, the facilities will potentially cater to self-driving trucks and commercial drones. The exact location for the test sites have not been released.

Jack Weast, Chief Systems Architect of Intel's Autonomous Driving Group, provided insights about the type of facilities IAM requires to effectively test driverless cars. Weast wants to move away from traditional oval test track designs, to make trials more realistic. Test facilities with several route configurations, obstacles, intersections and traffic scenarios could be closer to what Weast envisions for IAM.

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