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AutoSens Conference Plays Vital Role in Autonomous Driving

Autonomous driving is the most expansive topic in the automotive industry. At one time, such concepts were science fiction, now they are just science. And the industry is working around the clock to validate, refine, and ultimately mass-produce that science. There is an old saying: “what a time to be alive.” Self-driving cars? What a time to be alive.

Think about it for a moment. All the cars we see on the road today; all of them driving themselves. Society will forever change as we know it.

Creating Dialogue

With significant cultural changes come a multitude of challenges and triumphs, autonomous driving being no exception. Hence why collaboration is necessary as the discussions concerning autonomous driving are great. Pick any single aspect about it: technology, engineering, legalities, morals and ethics; or the idea we stand to lose our relationship with the automobile. These conversations are nearly endless, and each topic poses as many questions as answers.

It is for this reason AutoSens is needed if autonomous driving is going to work. Fresh off a successful Detroit conference in May, AutoSens, a global summit on automated driving is returning to Brussels, Belgium next week. The agenda includes over 60 different sessions meant to facilitate meaningful dialogue on the topic of autonomous cars.

“The challenge of the automotive industry is to design computers and robots that can perform tasks better than humans can, while also causing minimal disruption to a system that will include human driven vehicles for many decades to come,” said AutoSens founder Robert Stead. “It’s no easy task.”

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Photo: Continental Corporation.

Community & Collaboration

AutoSens examines every aspect of autonomous driving, from the supply chain and infrastructure concerns, to the legal, financial, and ethical considerations. Attendees, speakers, sponsors, and participants leverage each other’s expertise during the event, which takes aim at the biggest challenges facing autonomous cars. Collaboration and creativity are the central themes, whereby professionals in the field share ideas and devise solutions to the obstacles facing autonomous driving.

“I would say the biggest challenge for people is trying to understand the different technologies,” explained Phil Magney, Founder and Principal Advisor, VSI Labs, during AutoSens Detroit in May. “This conference has been good for us because we meet like-minded people that are facing similar challenges; we talk, we exchange our views, and we learn from each other.”

“It’s a great community and we are very happy to be part of this ecosystem; it’s an excellent event,” added Paul Fleck, Founder of Dataspeed. “I’m looking forward to AutoSens Brussels and then coming back to Detroit again next year.”

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Dataspeed Founder Paul Fleck (black shirt, jacket, middle) talks with AutoSens Detroit attendees in May. Dataspeed showcased the company’s ADAS Kit which helps engineers maximize their development of autonomous systems in the field. Fleck, an engineer himself, lost a loved one in an auto accident. The experience led him to develop technology he believes will save lives. Photo: Alex Hartman for Sense Media.

For Engineers, By Engineers

The technical integrity of the conference is of the utmost importance. This way, attendees have a true representation of what is happening in the market. There are no sales pitches or slides; “for engineers, by engineers” is the approach organizers take. Every aspect of the conference lives by this motto, from the autonomous vehicle demonstrations to the panel of speakers.

“AutoSens brings together engineering minds in a way incomparable with other events this sector,” Stead said. “A real sense of community is what makes it tick. You’ll find the attendees, even if they are doing research on a niche technical area, will be very open to explain what it’s all about to those who are not so experienced.”

Expert Speakers

AutoSens Brussels 2018 includes keynotes from Professor Christoph Stiller, KIT, on Solutions and Open Challenges in Vehicular Perception, Professor Michael Watts, MIT, with a review of the latest research in photonics-sensor technologies as they relate to the automotive sector, and Jack Weast, Intel, on sharing an Open, Transparent, Industry-Driven Approach to AV Safety.

Expert speakers include representatives from BMW Group, Intel, Hailo, Lyft, NXP Semiconductors, Waymo, University of Surrey, Siemens, Renesas, Smart Eye, The University of Warwick, ABI Research, VSI Labs, and Arbe Robotics. Session leaders have expertise in robotics, computer vision, automotive electronics, digital imaging, and functional safety among others.

“The difference between AutoSens and many other events on this hot topic of self-driving cars is that the AutoSens attendees are the actual engineers who are building the systems that will make it all possible,” Stead explained. “They know first-hand what technologies work well, what the bottlenecks are, and what the future capabilities will be.”

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Attendees sit in during one of the many technical presentations that took place at AutoSens Detroit in May. The conference will return to the Michigan Science Center beginning on May 13th, 2019. Photo: Alex Hartman for Sense Media.

Tickets & Location

AutoSens Brussels 2018 takes place inside the city’s famous AutoWorld Museum, September 17th through the 20th. Tickets, including discount packages for females in the engineering community, are available now. The event’s full agenda and speaker lineup can be found here. The AutoSens Awards, also held in Brussels, are set for the evening of September 19th.

“It’s a community and what AutoSens does is bring that community together twice a year; once in Detroit in May and again in September in Brussels,” Stead said. “We see a lot of the same faces coming back – it’s kind of like seeing the family twice a year – but it is growing and there are new people coming too.”

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.