EB Partners With Canadian University On Urban Vehicle Project


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LAS VEGAS--Jan. 7, 2014: Elektrobit (EB) has partnered with the Universite de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, to help develop a new urban electric vehicle with autonomous driving technology.

EB's development software played a key role in the overall design of the university's concept vehicle -- Vehicle Urbain Electrique (VUE). The company's EB GUIDE 5.5 development platform allowed Sherbrooke's project team of computer and electrical engineering students to integrate a variety of intuitive human machine interface (HMI) systems into the car.

An ongoing project at Sherbrooke, the VUE is based on a 2006-model Smart Fortwo Coupe chassis with a current top speed of 75 mph and a range of about 40 miles. Vehicle features include obstacle and road-sign detection systems and web-based remote control of accessories, as well as custom-built propulsion and battery-management systems.

More than 35 students have participated in the VUE program since 2011. Expanded autonomous-drive capability, increased range and additional driver-assistance features are among future program goals.

EB's software helped develop the VUE's fully digital instrument cluster, an infotainment system based on the QNX Neutrino Realtime Operating System and vehicle diagnostic displays.

"With EB GUIDE 5.5, we were able to create a multi-modal HMI that includes driver assistance information from the vehicle's radar and sign-detection systems," notes Luc Maurais, the VUE's project manager. "EB's software is easy to use and supports multiple platforms.

"In addition to free EB GUIDE licenses, EB also provided us with remote training and technical support. All of which was a huge benefit for the team on our way to bringing VUE to the road."

Project VUE launched with the conversion of a Smart Fortwo Coupe into a fully-connected, electric vehicle focused on improving reliability of the battery, power supply and other electrical systems. Begun in early 2013, the next development stage was designed to increase in-vehicle "intelligence," including improved user experiences with an integrated, fully functional instrument cluster.

Future development objectives will include the extension of driver-assistance functions for completely autonomous driving and voice controls developed with EB GUIDE Speech Target Framework (STF), as well as the integration of EB Navigation solutions.

"A compelling infotainment system is key to the success of any electric vehicle," said Martin Schleicher, vice president of Automotive Strategy and Infotainment Products at EB. "Only the combination of in-car data such as battery status with other information, including navigation, will make intelligent, truly ecological resource-management possible.

"With EB GUIDE 5.5, the VUE team is equipped with the right tools to develop an HMI system that enables the intuitive interaction between driver and car, as well as the integration of dynamic content to ensure systems are always up to date. As a 'Lithium Level' VUE partner, we are happy to provide EB GUIDE tools and offer support for project objectives such as the integration of driver-assistance systems and voice control."

Jin Xu, global education program manager for QNX Software Systems, noted, "The progress the VUE team has achieved in such a short time is impressive, and we are proud to support them with QNX OS technology, tools and training. The VUE project car offers a preview of what is possible in terms of autonomous driving and connectivity, and demonstrates the value of supporting educational programs with state-of-the-art software tools."

EB and the VUE project team will display the VUE at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas (Booth #3034, North Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center). The current VUE concept vehicle weighs 1,741 pounds; has a 77-inch wheelbase; is 98.4 inches in overall length, and is 56.6 inches wide.

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