In just seven days you can make a man, all you have to do is ask Tim Curry. However, how long would it take to make a self-driving car? Engineering students from the Waterford Institue of Technology (WIT), Ireland, have the answer. Twelve weeks. The engineers utilized the university's Applied Robotics Lab and as a result, got a Toyota Corolla to drive itself down a street on campus.
Jason Berry, a lecturer at the university said: "One of the coolest sounds we ever heard on a project was listening to the car increasing revs as it gets ready to go. The project is the bread and butter of what any engineer is all about - figuring stuff out for yourself."The students are currently doing their BEng qualifications in Electronic Engineering which will take a year whilst doing their two-year higher certificate courses in Electronic Engineering.
How the engineers did it:
- Developed a console that accelerates the car through a command that tells the engine the accelerator has been pressed down
- Utilizing the same technology, they developed commands that instructed the car's engine management system to turn
- The car saw where it was going thanks to a webcam
- A servo motor that pushed the brake when it knew it needed to stop
So, lecturers and mentors of engineering, are you ready to build self-driving cars with your students? Only a twelve week process. What you're left with is a rewarding feeling of having actually engineered something.