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Renault 5 EV and Canoo’s Pickup Truck Win the 2021 FMOTY Awards
KAIST Future Mobility of the Year Awards recognize the most innovative concept cars of the year The Renault 5 EV from France and a pickup truck from the US startup Canoo won the 2021 Future Mobility of the Year Awards (FMOTY) hosted by the Cho Chun Shik Graduate School of Green Transportation at KAIST. The awards ceremony was held at Renault Samsung Motors in Seoul on November 25. KAIST began the FMOTY in 2019 to advance future car technology and stimulate growth in the industry. The award recognizes the most innovative ideas for making the most futuristic concept car and improving the technological and social value of the industry. The awards ceremony was attended by KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee, the dean of the Cho Chun Shik Graduate School of Green Transportation In Gwun Jang, CEO of Renault Samsung Motors Dominique Signora, and CEO of Canoo Tony Aquila. President Lee said, “The new world order will be impacted by new technology developers who envision the future. Their innovation and creative ideas will open a new world of sustainable future transportation.” Out of the 46 concept cars revealed at global motor exhibitions between last year and the first quarter of this year, models demonstrating transport technology useful for future society and innovative service were selected in the categories of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Sixteen automotive journalists from 11 countries, including the chief editor of Car Magazine in Germany Georg Kacher and editorial director of BBC Top Gear Charlie Turner, participated as judges. This year’s award for the best concept car for a passenger vehicle went to an electric vehicle, the Renault 5 EV. The compact electric car was highly regarded for its practicality and environmental friendliness. A pickup truck by Canoo, an American EV manufacturing start-up, won the award in the commercial vehicle category. The pickup features an innovative design allowing for a variety of functions topped with a competitive price and it received overwhelming support from the judges. While Hyundai Motors swept both prizes at the awards last year and demonstrated the potential of Korean concept cars, Canoo’s win in the commercial vehicle section as a young American venture company brought attention to the changing dynamics in the automotive market. This shows that young EV start-ups can compete with existing car companies as the automotive paradigm is shifting from those with internal combustion engines to EVs. The awards organizers said that the Cho Chun Shik Graduate School of Green Transportation will continue to hold the FMOTY to lead the fast-changing global mobility market. For more information, please visit www.fmoty.org.
Team USRG’s Winning Streak Continues at the AI Grand Challenge
Team USRG (Unmanned Systems Research Group) led by Professor Hyunchul Shim from the School of Electrical Engineering has won the AI Grand Challenge 2020 held on Nov. 23 at Kintex in Ilsan, Kyonggi-do for the second consecutive year. The team received 7.7 million KRW in research funding from the Ministry of Science and ICT, the organizer of the challenge. The team took a little over two minutes to complete the rescue operation mission of the challenge. The mission included swerving around seven obstacles, airdropping an aid package, and safely landing after identifying the landing spot. Their drone is the only one that successfully passed through a 10-meter tunnel out of five pre-qualified teams: three from universities and two from companies. The AI Grand Challenge, which began in 2017, was designed to promote AI technology and its applications for addressing high-risk technical challenges, especially for conducting complex disaster relief operations. For autonomous flying drones, swerving to avoid objects has always been an essential skill and a big challenge. For their flawless performance in the rescue operation, the team loaded an AI algorithm and upgraded their drone by improving the LiDAR-based localization system and a stronger propulsion system to carry more sensors. The drone weighs 2.4 kg and carries a small yet powerful computer with a GPU. This AI-powered drone can complete rescue missions more efficiently in complicated and disastrous environments by precisely comprehending where the drone should go without needing GPS. The team also designed an all-in-one prop guard and installed a gripper onto the bottom of the drone to hold the aid package securely. “We tried hard to improve our localization system better to resolve issues we had in the previous event,” said Professor Shim. Two PhD candidates, Han-Sob Lee and Bo-Sung Kim played a critical role in developing this drone. After their two-year winning streak, their prize money now totals 2.4 billion KRW, equivalent to the winning prize of the DARPA Challenge. As the winning team, they will collaborate with other champions at the AI track challenge to develop rescue mission technology for a more complex environment. “The importance of AI technology is continuing to grow and the government is providing large amounts of funding for research in this field. We would like to develop very competitive technology that will work in the real world,” Professor Shim added. His group is investigating a wide array of AI technologies applicable to unmanned vehicles including indoor flying drones, self-driving cars, delivery robots, and a tram that circles the campus.
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