AutoSens Brussels
20 Sep 2017 - Brussels, Belgium - Autosense conference 2017 © Bernal Revert/ BR&U

Global Summit On Autonomous Driving Returns To Detroit

AutoSens, a global summit on autonomous driving, returns to Detroit, Michigan, starting on May 15th. Attendees, speakers, sponsors, and participants will leverage each other’s expertise during the event, including autonomous vehicle demonstrations, technical sessions, a full panel of expert speakers, and dozens of networking opportunities.

The event will happen May 15th through the 17th at the Michigan Science Center near the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

“AutoSens, in short, is a global engineering forum for the people who work on vehicle perception systems,” explained Robert Stead, Managing Director, Sense Media, the parent company of AutoSens. “That might be designing a component, coding software algorithms, deciding on how to build a complete system, quality assurance, testing, or any number of other functions important in developing efficient, affordable, robust, and reliable systems to the high standards demanded by the auto industry.”

Strength In Numbers

Collaboration and creativity are the central themes of AutoSens, whereby professionals in the field are encouraged to share ideas and devise solutions to the biggest challenges facing future mobility.

“This is a fiercely competitive market, but all companies can benefit from a forum with a free exchange of ideas,” Stead said. “Of course people don’t come and give away all their trade secrets, but so often engineers across the supply chain are facing similar challenges, and by working together to solve some of those core problems, they can spend more time focusing on the real value-add IP at the cutting edge of research.”

Although networking is a major aspect of AutoSens, it’s not a trade show. Attendees will be in the middle of the action, surrounded by people immersed in the technology daily.

“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 continued. “They know first-hand what technologies work well, what the bottlenecks are, and what the future capabilities will be.”

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Michigan-based Dataspeed demonstrates their ADAS Kit at AutoSens Detroit 2017. The company’s ADAS Kit takes control of the throttle, brakes, steering, and shifting to assist in the testing of sensors and other elements related to autonomous vehicle applications. Photo: Carl Anthony for

Diverse & Encompassing

AutoSens also addresses supply chain challenges, regulations, testing and validation environments, and the various human factors involved in implementing autonomous driving. The human aspects are among the event’s defining moments. At AutoSens Brussels in September, Stead recalls an attendee who noted it was refreshing to “take the gloves off for a couple of days and do good science with other engineers.”

“I think that sums it up pretty well,” he said. “It’s also a lot more fun if everyone has an open mind – I’ve been to events where it’s all about hard sales, or when all the technical folks are tight-lipped about what they are working on, and it really doesn’t make for a great event. We are lucky to have some great Chairmen and Advisory Board members who set the tone.”

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AutoSens Brussels attendees chat during a brief coffee break. There are numerous opportunities to network during the duration of the conference. Photo: Sense Media, © Bernal Revert/BR&U.

Something For Everyone

Even though AutoSens is geared toward the engineering and technical communities, one doesn’t necessarily have to be an engineer. Professionals in other fields who have clients in the automotive industry can benefit from AutoSens. Those working in the car industry, from the big city boardroom to the small town dealership, can benefit by attending.

“To be clear, this is a technical meeting with engineering presentations on leading-edge research, but it’s also an accessible agenda top-and-tailed with plenary sessions that give some context to the deeper technical content,” Stead said. “Overall, I think any non-technical folks who are interested in what’s really going on in the autonomous vehicle technology space or need to know about it for their jobs will get some great value.””

Stead says there is no need to be shy, and questions are always welcome.

“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,” he added.

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During AutoSens Brussels, Senior Applications Engineer Edel Cashman (right) from SensL Technologies demonstrates how the company’s sensors can be utilized for LiDAR applications. Photo: Sense Media, © Bernal Revert/BR&U.

Schedule & Agenda

On Tuesday, May 15th, autonomous vehicle demonstrations will be conducted at nearby Wayne State University. Tuesday will also see a number of workshops, expert-led sessions, and roundtable discussions in the evening. On Wednesday and Thursday, May 16th and 17th, more expert speakers will take the stage, while panel discussions on both days will cover a range of topics from safety and privacy to technical innovations

Two receptions are planned, including one at HopCat, a local Detroit favorite known for their enticing menu items.

“I’ve been missing the Crack Fries at HopCat,” Stead joked.

Speakers include representatives from Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Jaguar Land Rover, and major suppliers like Bosch, Valeo, and Magna. Representatives from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, and the University of Michigan are also scheduled to speak.

Workshops include one on LiDAR – led by Dr. Mark McCord and Steve Vozar, co-founders of Cepton and May Mobility, respectively – and one on image processing led by Dr. Rania Hussein, Electrical Engineering Lecturer at the University of Washington Bothell.

“We record all the presentations, so they are available for attendees afterward,” Stead said. “If there’s a clash of two presentations you want to see, you can catch up in high-resolution, picture-in-picture format later via AutoSens TV.”

Photo: Sense Media.

Tickets & Attending

Tickets for AutoSens Detroit, including discount packages for females in the engineering community, are available now. The event’s full agenda can be found here.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to Detroit immensely,” Stead said. “We made some great friends last year and are really looking forward to building on those relationships.”

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.