2017 UK training event review

2017 UK training event review

Our second UK training workshop, held at Daytona Karting in Esher, Surrey – close to central London, was a success – bringing together dozens of different companies to explore driverless vehicle technologies.  Our popular “Introduction to driverless vehicle technology” workshop ran twice.


Tim Swanson, from AutonomouStuff, describing the company’s offerings in R&D research platforms, as well as additional engineering services relating to the four cores of autonomous vehicle construction.  Tim also ran through data management (a service offered in conjunction with Quantum) and sensor suite approaches.

Kevin Doherty, NovAtel explored GPS and GNSS technologies, highlighted system approaches, accuracy issues and possible solutions (including RTK and inertia measurement), as well as how those systems.

Eric Prineau, from LeddarTech, described principles of LiDAR – the primary seeing system used in autonomous vehicles, and how solid state units will enable lower unit cost and simpler data collection for production vehicles and Philippe LeBon, from Intempora, explored the company’s sensor fusion and categorisation system – RTMaps – describing recording of data from multiple sources, with storage and data manipulation in a modular fashion in R&D vehicles.

Anish Mohammed, security advisor for Privacy Shell, hosted a short talk on driverless vehicle security after lunch, before an update from SDTD co-founder Alex Lawrence-Berkeley on available UK funding for connected and autonomous vehicles, a highlighted round-robin of useful online resources for further learning and standards, future events and the Formula RoboKart project – a vocational ADAS/autonomous vehicle competition in early stages of planning.

Attendees and demos

Attendees came from across the automotive industry, as well as academia and independents, including Jaguar Land Rover, Intel, ADIADA, Ricardo, Huawei, PTL Engines, NCC Group, Bestmile, Parkopedia, Vianty, Autocar Magazine, Qualcomm, Nova Modus, Street Drone, SoftKinetic, Samsung, APTCore, OXTS, Veripos, Mipd, plus Surrey, Loughborough, DeMontfort and Nottingham Universities.

Ride-along track demos were delivered by DataSpeed and Anthony Best Dynamics, respectively showing off their R&D and test platforms to attendees, and on Monday we were also joined by the team from Formula Pi.

Each workshop day concluded with a panel Q&A session, which teased out some thorny often stimulating ethical, technical and legal questions.

World exclusive talk and technology demo

Dr Torquil Ross-Martin, founder of AutoRD, gave a very well-received presentation on his company’s driverless motorbike, based on a BMW C1 – the first time the prototype system had been seen in public – as such a world exclusive! Describing the development and prototype engineering processes and systems in use – many of which he and his team had custom developed – attendees were left both bewildered and startled by the remarkable achievement of creating a two-wheeled vehicle that could start, stop, steer and drive without human intervention, gyros or additional wheels.

The AutoRD team used the track for testing throughout the event, and were able to perform on-track demos while engineers answered questions from the audience assembled on a nearby viewing platform.

Monday night fun

The busiest day (Monday) ended with a one-hour endurance karting race, fought by 14 two-person teams (team-mates were randomly allocated) made up from sponsors, speakers, workshop attendees and members of the Self Driving Track Days team.

A burst of rain during the warm-up meant the first dozen laps were fraught with spins and accidents, but the shower passed, the track dried, and race soon settled into a thrilling battle of driving skill – with speeds reaching 65mph and top teams completing more than 60 laps!

Gregory Epps (React AI) and Moe Hashimi came in third, Steve Grzebyk (DataSpeed) and Alex Lawrence-Berkeley (Self Driving Track Days) coming in second, and Daniel Eastwood (PTL Engines) and Ian Hailey (Vianty) finishing top, a full lap ahead of the second place team. Fourth, fifth and Sixth place teams were separated by only a few seconds after more than 60 laps – an impressive level of driving prowess from a group of very inexperienced racers!

Following the race, our hosts at Daytona fired up the BBQ and everyone enjoyed a delicious alfresco dinner.

Future training in Europe and the UK

The final 2017 workshop for Self Driving Track Days will take place nr Vienna in Austria, and provide at least five brand new ½-day training workshops, on-track testing time and driverless technology demonstrations.

AutoSens, our professional vehicle perception and ADAS engineering conference – will take place in Detroit, in May, and Brussels in September.  Both conferences are well attended technical events, and aimed at established engineers in the ADAS and vehicle perception sectors.

Self Driving Track Days will return to the UK in 2018, so please join the mailing list if you’d like to be kept informed.