Florida Polytechnic University Gets Grant from National Science Foundation to Study Autonomous Vehicles

Florida Polytechnic University will continue its work on autonomous vehicle technology with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The foundation awarded the university $350,000 grant to develop a “large-scale Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) simulation facility for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).” HiL is a  “type of real-time simulation that serves as a gateway for the development and testing of complex embedded systems.

The funds will go to support a new lab that is scheduled to open at the start of the spring semester.

“I thank the National Science Foundation for their support of Florida Polytechnic University’s research and development of autonomous vehicle technology,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last week. “Autonomous vehicle research is critical to the future of transportation in the state of Florida, and I look forward to Florida Poly’s continued leadership in this space.”

Florida Polytechnic offered some of the details on how the funds will be used.

“The HiL simulation facility will provide researchers from the Florida Poly’s Advanced Mobility Institute a more realistic approach to the testing and verification procedures, as they collaborate closely with students on practical and real-world projects related to CAVs. These include research on how autonomous vehicles operate independent of weather or electromagnetic interferences, while surrounded by non-verbal human communication such as gestures and signals,” the university noted.

“So far we’ve been working and generating different scenarios as models for Software-in-the-Loop testing, but only doing it with software is not as realistic,” said Dr. Arman Sargolzaei, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and the grant’s lead investigator. “The new Hardware-in-the-Loop facility will allow us to do testing that is closer to real-world scenarios.

“Advancing Hardware-in-the-Loop application domain to the era of CAVs will lead to a set of exemplary breakthroughs in the field of transportation research,” Sargolzaei added. “We are excited for the establishment of this new facility to accelerate our research mission, which is to make automated vehicle more safe and secure.”

Other researchers working on the project include Dr. Suleiman Alsweiss, Dr. Ala Alnaser, Dr. Jorge Vargas, Dr. Saleem Sahawneh and Dr. Rahul Razdan from the Advanced Mobility Institute and Dr. Mustafa Ilhan Akbas from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Florida Poly has increasingly focused on automated vehicles and the Advanced Mobility Institute is the largest research effort in the nation working exclusively to the testing and verification of this technology.


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