Our Managing Director here at AutoSens, Rob Stead is looking forward to hearing from Shane Elwart at AutoSensONLINE this month (23 November). Shane led global developments in ADAS and AV at two of the world’s largest OEM’s. He is now working on his own driverless transportation and will be sharing details from his previous work, and his views on reality vs the executive expectations, and the symplexity of ADAS and AVs. The ADAS and AV problem creates great complexities that through experience, frustration and blindsided expectations can bring simplicity, elegance and synergies that could lead to the ubiquity of autonomous vehicles.
This virtual plenary session at 1.30pm (GMT) on 23 November will present a background on some complex ADAS and AV situations that have led to simplifications and synergies, symplexities if you will. As we know development often brings about situations that call for a reality check and often when these reality checks cross well meaning people from the developer level to the executive, it can bring about some frustrations, but can lead to spectacular results. The presentation will cover a few key examples past to current and an approach that can change the paradigm from endless complexities to symplexity.
Robert took the opportunity to catch up with Shane and ask him a few hard-hitting questions about what he has been up to, how his ideas can help shape the industry and his outlook for the future.
You have a pretty impressive career behind you, what do you consider the highlights?
There are many memorable highlights from my career, like 30% Fuel Economy, 30 Day AV by-wire, No-cost Level 2 and ground up Level 4 full stack in < 10 months and more. One of my favorite achievements was the development of anti-jackknife control for Pro-trailer Backup Assist, the associated Technical Achievement Award, and the Henry Ford Technology award. Out of all of it, I have been named inventor on 100 US issued patents in powertrain controls, aftertreatment controls, fuel cells, driver assistance, mapping, localization, autonomous vehicles and more.
What have you been building, with whom, and why did you set such a deadline?
Purpose built driverless shuttle that is low cost and for everyone, with my family – including my wife, 5 children and 5 brothers, the deadline was set as part of an unplanned set of events (COVID shut down the ADS development at the company I was working for). More than this, however, we intended to start a company and wanted to make an entrance and a splash as opposed to just drawing some pictures on a piece of paper and talking make believe. I believe in making things real and so we decided to design, build, and test our initial prototype in 100 days, and we succeeded in just over 100 days demonstrating driving in a simplified ODD with no driver or passengers present. As you can imagine, to pull this off, building a vehicle from the ground up, let alone safely, a lot of thought, planning and testing was required especially under such tight timing and limited resources, and it shows that we can achieve and do far more in the EV and AV space.
The vehicle is low speed, low cost, low complexity. Why does that route represent an opportunity to you?
You cannot produce a 4-12 passenger vehicle that costs half a million dollars and compete in the space of rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.), transit (bus, tram, etc.), ….
There are some many historical examples of where we find ourselves today in the AV industry. Everyone is talking about what AV could do, many are planning for the future, and few can actually do anything about it at all, because the cost