General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Collaborative Research Labs
General Motors and Carnegie Mellon are working hard to make the car of the future the care of today. Since 2000, the world's largest automaker has contributed over $16 million to establish two Collaborative Research Labs (CRLs) at the university, the Information Technologies CRL and the Autonomous Driving CRL.
The research centers are part of an ongoing effort between the institutions dedicated to advancing next-generation vehicle technologies. Members conduct joint research at GM R&D facilities in Warren, Michigan, and across Carnegie Mellon's departments including electrical & computer engineering, computer science, and human-computer interaction. Although the labs are unique in their focus, they share information and researchers regularly because safety, reliability, and comfort are not independent concepts but rather interrelated components of vehicle design.
The GM-Carnegie Mellon Information Technologies CRL
Established in 2000 with a lead gift of $3 million, and renewed in 2003 with a commitment of $8 million, the Information Technologies CRL is focused on developing an integrated in-vehicle electronic architecture and computing infrastructure, which will produce more reliable, better performing vehicles.
Researchers at the Information Technologies CRL look at how we interact with our cars, and how those interactions can be made smoother and in real-time. Projects range from improving safety by analyzing and assessing drivers' alertness to providing road condition information and incorporating more entertainment capabilities. A key criterion of all research is developing architectures that can easily add on to existing automobiles and that can be easily upgraded as new technologies emerge.
The GM-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving CRL
Due in large part to the success of Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing team at the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, General Motors donated $5 million to establish the Autonomous Driving CRL. Boss, an autonomous Chevy Tahoe, took first place in the Urban Challenge, besting entrants from the some of nation's top universities. With help from designers at GM, the Tartan Racing team was able to produce a driverless vehicle capable of completing the 55-mile course while sharing the road with other vehicles and negotiating traffic patterns.
Raj Rajkumar, co-director of the CRL and ECE professor, explained that cars today house between 30 and 70 computers, which monitor and enable various systems. As technology improves, these cyber-physical systems will be able to communicate with each other, thus transmitting vital safety information to both vehicle and driver.
"Technologies ranging from electronics, controls and software to wireless capabilities and digital mapping could ultimately change how people drive and use their vehicles," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and Strategic Planning. "The work we’re doing with Carnegie Mellon could ultimately make this a reality."
Learn more about the GM-Carnegie Mellon CRL here.