The University of Waterloo has caught the attention of China.
The Qingdao Academy of Intelligent Industries (QAII) and the State Key Laboratory for Management and Control of Complex Systems (SKL-MCCS), Chinese leaders in autonomous driving technology, are partnering up with the university to advance that technology.
This isn’t foreign territory for the school, which has multiple research partnership agreements across the world.
“Waterloo is committed to taking a global view on research and development and this partnership represents a significant step in our goal of advancing the world’s understanding and use of new technologies,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, in a March 15 press release. “Our dedication to innovation and these types of partnerships will help us to continue to shape the future of Canada and the world’s technologies and economy.”
Last year, researchers from the university, in partnership with Renesas Electronics America, created computer programs and mechanisms to help a car drive autonomously in different driving scenarios. The latest agreement with Chinese institutions will lead to the development of a shared research centre for automated driving, faculty and graduate student exchanges, a Waterloo PhD program focused on autonomous vehicles and the potential for Chinese startup companies to create research and development facilities in the Waterloo Region.
“The Waterloo collaboration is another significant step to strengthen QAII’s international profile, and we are committed to make it a great success,” said Yanchen Gao, senior vice-president of QAII for intelligent technology research and development and incubation, in a March 15 press release. “Parallel driving for intelligent vehicles is one of our hallmark technologies and we hope our joint venture with Waterloo brings networked autonomous driving to reality.”
The Chinese partners will provide up to $1 million CAD per year for five years, while Waterloo has committed to providing $4 million CAD to build a new autonomous lab facility in 2018. It’s also seeking further government matching funds to support this initiative.
President of QAII and director of SKL-MCCS Fei-Yue Wang said he’s looking forward to building on his existing ties to the university’s engineering department. Wang said he’s been connected to the school for 30 years.
“Waterloo has been a world leader in engineering and computer science education and research and the Waterloo mechatronic vehicle research program has provided a solid foundation for the success of our collaboration,” he said.