Applanix, Waterloo U collaborate on autonomous vehicle tech

June 29, 2017  - By

Applanix is collaborating on advanced research for autonomous vehicle guidance and control systems with the University of Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) in Ontario, Canada. Applanix is a Trimble company.

Applanix will provide WatCAR with its positioning and orientation system for testing autonomous guidance and control systems in real-world conditions. Applanix will also provide the Trimble GNSS-inertial board set for integration with car systems and sensors to enable precise positioning.

The Applanix POS LV is a robust, reliable and repeatable positioning solution for on- and off-road vehicles. Applanix technology will be used by WatCAR to assess the performance of the guidance and control systems on board their autonomous vehicles.

The testing will take place in challenging weather conditions and environments including on roads under repair, with lane reductions and closures, are wet or covered in snow, and where there is poor visibility.

An SUV in an anechoic chamber at WatCAR.

Applanix will also provide WatCAR with Trimble on-board GNSS-inertial board set designed for high-performance, high-volume original equipment manufacturer applications. These products, currently used in a variety of autonomous vehicle programs, include the Trimble AP GNSS-inertial board set that includes a high-precision inertial measurement unit.

Small, rugged and low powered, the AP board sets provide the precise positioning needed for autonomous vehicle applications as they navigate their environment. Designed for use on all sizes and types of vehicles, the AP boards feature Trimble’s high-performance precision GNSS receivers and Applanix’ IN-Fusion GNSS-inertial integrated technology that produces uninterrupted position, roll, pitch and true heading measurements of moving platforms. Integrating easily with vehicle sensors, the AP board sets provide precise vehicle control when interacting with a constantly changing environment.

The relationship with WatCAR will aid in improving the core technologies that deliver high-end systems capabilities for a variety of Trimble markets.

The Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research in Canada conducts advanced research to further automotive innovation and competitiveness. From active safety to automated driving through lightweighting and advanced powertrains, 130 faculty researchers comprise the largest university-based automotive activity in the country. Leading-edge studies for industry partners around the world enhance vehicles, components and their materials with new approaches and integration of innovative technologies.

“We are excited to collaborate with the University of Waterloo and WatCAR on this leading research in autonomous vehicle technology,” said Louis Nastro, director of land products at Applanix. “Applanix has been committed to meeting the needs of autonomous vehicle manufacturers for more than a decade, as first demonstrated in the early days of the DARPA Grand Challenge. And today, we are also part of many autonomous vehicle programs deployed worldwide in commercial applications.”

“The Trimble AP products, first introduced in 2009, are designed for use in small, mass market vehicles where size, weight and cost factors are important,” Nastro said. “They have also been designed to easily integrate with the industry’s leading sensors, making them an ideal solution for autonomous vehicle navigation systems and sub-systems.”

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Applanix, a leader in reference systems. Their technology identifies, with very high accuracy, the exact location of our vehicle at all times,” said Ross McKenzie, managing director at WatCAR. “Applanix is a valued industry partner and their team is great to work with. Going forward we anticipate a solution that will enable autonomous vehicles to traverse the real world reliably and safely.”

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2 Comments on "Applanix, Waterloo U collaborate on autonomous vehicle tech"

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  1. William K. says:

    Here is a really scary thought about the whole concept of autonomous cars: They will need millions of lines of code to function. What makes that reality so uncomfortable, at least to me, is the fact that the product is being rushed to market, meaning that all of those cars will have lots of software bugs. At best, the result will be inconvenient delays while some perfectly secure update function happens every week. At the worst, the government will be forced to mandate a shutdown for driving the affected models until the bug can be somehow corrected. So while perfecting the hardware is a huge task, that is the easy part, while producing the completely bug-free code is just a bunch of wishes.

  2. The automotive industry segment dominates the automated guided vehicle market

    The automotive industry is the largest contributor toward the world economy and is attracting investments from across the world, which in turn creates an opportunity for the automated guided vehicle market. Automotive suppliers have made rapid progress by innovating new products and enabling real-time information for efficient product delivery while maintaining high quality. The typical applications in the automotive industry include automated raw material delivery and automated work-in-progress movements between manufacturing cells and transport of finished goods.

    Lithium-ion battery type is expected to dominate the automated guided vehicle market during the forecast period

    Among all the battery types that are used in automated guided vehicles for power supply, lithium-ion batteries currently have a high demand. The major factors influencing the increasing adoption of lithium-ion batteries in AGVs are their cost effectiveness, high density, light weight, and the ability to sustain in cold temperatures. Next-generation li-ion batteries are expected to make use of silicon anodes that utilize silicon nanotubes or a coating of silicon material for significantly higher energy storage and longer battery life.

    The report profiles top players of the automated guided vehicle market, which include Daifuku Co., Ltd. (Japan), JBT Corporation (U.S.), KION Group (Germany), KUKA AG (Germany), Toyota Industrial Corporation (Japan), Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (U.S.), Kollmorgen (U.S.), E&K Automation GMBH (Germany), Seegrid Corporation (U.S.), and SSI Schaefer AG (Germany). The report also analyzes the market trends for each of the market segments and their respective growth rates.