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Kettering University Students Converting Chevy Bolt Into Autonomous Vehicle

Kettering University freshman Eric Smith is one of more than 60 students participating in the AutoDrive Challenge.

More than 60 Kettering University researchers are working on the university's entry into the AutoDrive Challenge, in which teams convert a Chevrolet Bolt into a Level 4 autonomous vehicle.

Credit: Matt Durr/

Researchers at Kettering University are participating in the AutoDrive Challenge, which asks teams to convert a Chevrolet Bolt into a Level 4 autonomous vehicle over the course of three years.

The team is working on the vehicle's ability to recognize road signs and how the car reacts to them in an autonomous state.

The challenge has proven to be more difficult than first thought as the technology must deal with unpredictable factors, including sunshine and signs in disrepair, which can affect a camera's ability to read signs.

"We can have snow-covered signs, so we need to be able to accurately detect these in all sorts of environmental conditions," says Kettering University's Eric Smith. He is one of more than 60 researchers involved in the challenge, which requires the eight participating teams to hit different stages of completion.

The first challenge requires the vehicle to perform basic autonomous functions, including obstacle avoidance, sign detection, and lane changing.

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