UB officials unveil newest self-driving car on campus

Local News

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — The University at Buffalo is adding to its fleet of driver-less vehicles. UB officials unveiled their newest self-driving car on campus Tuesday.

On the outside it looks like a typical car, but this Lincoln MKZ is equipped with several cameras, 2 front radars and what’s called a lydar system on the roof which gives passengers inside a 360 view.

But if you think you’ll see this self-driving car on city streets any time soon, think again because this is for research.

The University at Buffalo unveiled the driverless car on campus Tuesday. Several organizations partnered with UB to equip the Lincoln with self-driving technology. The $250,000 car was made possible through several donations including one from Monro Muffler Brake and West Herr Auto Group.

“This certainly enables hands-on training of students from high school students, from undergrad to grad students,” said Chunming Qiao, SUNY distinguished professor & chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UB.

The car is what’s called ‘drive by wire’, which means it can be controlled by a computer. But it is self-contained so the computer is in the trunk.

“Allows us to conduct cutting edge research. How to test and certify the safety of autonomous vehicles for the future transportation system,” said Qiao.

Safety within driverless cars and future transportation will be the focus for UB students and staff.

“One of the biggest concerns is how safe these autonomous vehicles are. There’s currently no national standard on the safety and there’s no methodologies to evaluate and certify the safety,” said Qiao.

Many officials say it allows UB to be at the wheel when it comes to training future generations of engineers and scientists.

“Only a few universities across the country have this capability so we are very proud,” said Qiao.

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