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Team KAIST Makes Its Presence Felt in the Self-Driving Tech Industry
Team KAIST finishes 4th at the inaugural CES Autonomous Racing Competition Team KAIST led by Professor Hyunchul Shim and Unmanned Systems Research Group (USRG) placed fourth in an autonomous race car competition in Las Vegas last week, making its presence felt in the self-driving automotive tech industry. Team KAIST, beat its first competitor, Auburn University, with speeds of up to 131 mph at the Autonomous Challenge at CES held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the team failed to advance to the final round when it lost to PoliMOVE, comprised of the Polytechnic University of Milan and the University of Alabama, the final winner of the $150,000 USD race. A total of eight teams competed in the self-driving race. The race was conducted as a single elimination tournament consisting of multiple rounds of matches. Two cars took turns playing the role of defender and attacker, and each car attempted to outpace the other until one of them was unable to complete the mission. Each team designed the algorithm to control its racecar, the Dallara-built AV-21, which can reach a speed of up to 173 mph, and make it safely drive around the track at high speeds without crashing into the other. The event is the CES version of the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition that took place for the first time in October last year to encourage university students from around the world to develop complicated software for autonomous driving and advance relevant technologies. Team KAIST placed 4th at the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which qualified it to participate in this race. “The technical level of the CES race is much higher than last October’s and we had a very tough race. We advanced to the semifinals for two consecutive races. I think our autonomous vehicle technology is proving itself to the world,” said Professor Shim. Professor Shim’s research group has been working on the development of autonomous aerial and ground vehicles for the past 12 years. A self-driving car developed by the lab was certified by the South Korean government to run on public roads. The vehicle the team used cost more than 1 million USD to build. Many of the other teams had to repair their vehicle more than once due to accidents and had to spend a lot on repairs. “We are the only one who did not have any accidents, and this is a testament to our technological prowess,” said Professor Shim. He said the financial funding to purchase pricy parts and equipment for the racecar is always a challenge given the very tight research budget and absence of corporate sponsorships. However, Professor Shim and his research group plan to participate in the next race in September and in the 2023 CES race. “I think we need more systemic and proactive research and support systems to earn better results but there is nothing better than the group of passionate students who are taking part in this project with us,” Shim added.
Aerospace Engineering Students Win the Minister's Award
On November 11, 2016, students from KAIST’s Aerospace Engineering Department won the Minister’s Award of Trade, Industry and Energy of Korea at the 14th Research Paper Competition hosted by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The award came with a cash prize of USD 1,200 as well as opportunities to visit international airshows held abroad. The KAIST students' paper introduced a novel design concept for "a virtual-fighter-pilot system for unmanned combat aerial vehicles to enable them to engage in mass aerial combat." This was one of the two highest honors given to contestants. A group of students from Korea Aerospace University received the other grand prize from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korea. The KAIST team consisted of two doctoral students, Hee-Min Shin and Jae-Hyun Lee, and one Master’s student, Hyun-Gi Kim. Their advisor, Professor “David” Hyunchul Shim, received the Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the paper. KAI’s competition was established in 2003 to spur academic interest and research in aerospace engineering. Over the past 14 years, contestants have submitted 376 papers, and KAI has published 88 papers. KAI has positioned itself as the host of one of the most prestigious research paper competitions held in Korea in the area of aerospace engineering. The Korean Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences, the Korea Aerospace Industries Association, and the Korea Civil Aviation Development Association also sponsored the competition, with the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Energy and of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Professor Shim said, “This represents a great honor for our students. In recent years, research in unmanned aerial systems has increased tremendously throughout the world, and I hope KAIST will continue to inspire and innovate research in this field.” Pictured from left to right are Hee-Min Shin, Jae-Hyun Lee, and Hyun-Gi Kim. Pictured from right to left are Professor Hyunchul Shim, Hyun-Gi Kim, Hee-Min Shin, and Vice President Sung-Sup Chang of Korea Aerospace Industries.
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