NCKU Establishes Nation’s First Smart Autonomous Instructional Module with Acer Mule Car Donation
 
May 10, 2021
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Jyh-Ching Juang, Professor at Department of Electrical Engineering of National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), leads a team dedicated to the innovation and research and development of smart driving technologies. Their research has gained support from Taiwan-based international corporation Acer, which donated three electrical mule cars for autonomous driving tests. By enhancing the instructional energy for the Cyber-Physical System (CPS) in unmanned vehicles, the program aims to boost the development of critical technologies for autonomous vehicles and the cultivation of interdisciplinary talents.

On the morning of February 26th, the donation ceremony took place at the Taiwan CAR Lab, located in Guiren District, Tainan City. Dr. Huey-Jen Jenny Su, President of NCKU, expressed that in the history of unmanned vehicles, the development of engineering technologies has reflected the participation of talents cultivated by NCKU, which will be celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The research and development of autonomous vehicles can be conducted systematically, exploring smart driving technologies with innovative experiments, and thus makes possible the continuous cultivation of talents, creating irreplaceable values.

Jason Chen, Chairman and CEO of Acer, is an alumnus from NCKU Department of Transportation and Communication Management Science and was selected as a distinguished alumnus in 2020. He expressed that NCKU is a great place and offers an excellent environment for learning. As one of the world’s top ICT companies, Acer is committed to innovation. At the same time, Acer cares about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, promoting sustainability both inside and outside the company. It has made significant achievements in terms of environmental, social, and corporate governance, and has recently received a Silver Class Distinction in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2021. Understanding fully the importance of cultivating young talents, Acer devotes itself to helping young students around the world enjoy a better learning environment. The autonomous mule cars are expected to assist the NCKU team in integrating research and application, to effectively improve the equipment in the instructing environment, and to benefit future talents.

The team led by NCKU Professor Jyh-Ching Juang established the nation’s first instructional module with centralized system of unmanned vehicles as the main objective. Featuring multiple courses on key technologies of autonomous vehicles, the module includes materials for simulation software and mule car connections, autonomous driving manipulation technology, application of Robot Operating System (ROS), and the development of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology.

Continuous research and innovation from all fields are crucial for the smooth development and safe operations of unmanned vehicles, Professor Jyh-Ching Juang said. With virtual simulation software linked to autonomous mule cars, the test drives at the test facility effectively demonstrates the results of interdisciplinary learning. The mule cars provided by Acer have yielded fruitful results during the development of instructional modules, and are expected to further promote and create new values and a sustainable learning environment.

In recent years, nations around the globe are seeking breakthroughs in autonomous vehicles technologies. At NCKU, the Autonomous Vehicles Testing Program was officially launched on January 20, 2020. So far, the team has made notable progresses in terms of perception, localization, decision-making, control, and cloud-monitoring technologies. The core research of the team focuses on unmanned vehicle technology, simulator, high-definition maps, and cloud platform system integration.

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) established Taiwan CAR Lab in 2019, aiming to build a research and development community for autonomous vehicles in Shalun, Tainan. Ministry of Education (MOE) launched the project Auto Vehicles Cultivation of Science and Technology in 2019, combining the energy from NCKU, National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT), and Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology (STUST), aiming to develop instructional modules for centralized systems in autonomous vehicles that cover key technologies including autonomous driving manipulation, Robot Operating System (ROS), and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), in order to construct an ideal learning environment for CPS.

Writing by Hsu Tsu-Yueh. Photos by Raph Su.

SOURCE / National Cheng Kung University Taiwan