Lero researchers find way with Valeo research agreement
Researchers from the Lero, the software research centre, have signed an autonomous vehicle research and development partnership with French car part supplier Valeo.
The research will focus on helping autonomous vehicles to better navigate in complex, real world conditions using sensor signal processing technology.
A team of up to 30 Lero NUI Galway and Valeo engineers based in Tuam, Ireland, will work on the project. In support of the programme, Lero NUI Galway is hiring 10 PhD and two post-doctoral researchers.
Valeo, which employs 1,100 people in Tuam, operates the largest R&D team in the West of Ireland with over 400 engineers.
The project team at Lero will be headed by Dr Martin Glavin and Dr Edward Jones of the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway. Dr Ciaran Hughes, senior expert in computer vision, leads the Valeo research team.
“In many ways perception of the current state of autonomous vehicle technology is more advanced than reality,” said Dr Jones. “While autonomous vehicles are currently operating successfully in several locations, particularly in the US, this is often under road landscape and weather conditions very different to the more complex city and rural environments that would commonly be found in locations such as Ireland or elsewhere in Europe.”
“Working with the Valeo R&D team our research aims to develop sensor technology that can see further and adapt to difficult driving conditions such as fog, heavy rain and darkness,” added Dr Glavin. “It will also be designed to better deal with real life road situations such as cyclists, pedestrians or animals wandering on to the road.”
Dr Ciaran Hughes, Senior Expert, Valeo added, “This collaboration brings an 18-year relationship with NUI Galway to a new level, a step that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Lero. At a broad level, the project will look at how to extract the most information possible from automotive sensors, which is critical for highly complex autonomous driving systems.”
As part of the research programme a semi-autonomous car will be equipped to navigate every day hazards on the NUI Galway campus, although the test vehicle will be under human control at all times. Critical use cases will be examined at Valeo’s secured test facility in Tuam.