Ketter students participate in an intelligent land vehicle competition
Kettering University students will design, develop, document, test and sell systems engineering projects as part of the annual Intelligent Land Vehicle (IVGC) competition at Oakland University.
The competition, which runs from June 4 to 7, includes two challenges: the AutoNav challenge and the Self Drive challenge. Although this is the 28th year of IVGC, it is the first time that Kettering will be one of three new schools selected to participate by the US Army Combat Capability Development Center Ground Vehicle Systems Center (USACCDCGVSC)
Kettering is one of seven teams participating in the Self Drive Challenge in which they adapt software provided by the military to develop a self-driving golf cart.
With 13 students in the Kettering team, Bulldog has been working on their vehicle since fall 2019. Students can participate as part of the completion of their thesis on campus. They can also work in the lab of Team Advisor Dr Mehrdad Zadeh for their cooperative. Or, they can join the team for fun.
“It’s good visibility for Kettering University to show that we have the capabilities, and our students are very capable of turning a golf cart into an autonomous shuttle,” Zadeh said.
Zeus Polanco-Salgado (’24, CS) joined the team when he started working in Zadeh’s lab for his cooperative during the winter term of 2021.
He worked on creating an object detection model during competition, including panels, potholes and mannequins to represent real people. It also aided in communication between different programs and operating systems.
“I got involved because I study computer science and am interested in software,” Polanco-Salgado said. “At Kettering the strongest program is mechanical engineering, so it’s almost all about cars and I wanted to get involved in that.”
He said he enjoys working on projects and is learning new skills that he can use elsewhere.
Tanisha Francis (’25, CE) joined the team this quarter. She also works in Zadeh’s laboratory for her cooperative. She was tasked with helping to make sure the cart stayed on the trail.
“We have a map generator so it can work depending on where we are,” she said.
Like Polanco-Salgado, Francis appreciates the project.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it really pays off when you can see the progress being made,” she said. “… See the progress and see that we are creating an autonomous vehicle. Wow, this is something really fun. This is the coolest part for me.
In addition to technical skills, Francis said they also learned other soft skills, such as teamwork.
“We are all working together,” she said.
Zadeh said he was happy with the team’s progress, and regardless of the outcome of the competition, he knows the students have learned a lot.
“We have some progress, but there are a lot of issues that we need to find resolutions for, but we are working hard,” he said.