EcoCAR 3 is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series challenging 16 North American university teams. It is sponsored by DOE and General Motors and managed by Argonne National Laboratory. Teams have four years to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro and convert it into a hybrid vehicle, while still maintaining the performance expected from this iconic American muscle car.

EcoCAR 3 is the first AVTC competition requiring teams to implement an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) on vehicles. In this competition, ADAS systems are not allowed to actively intervene in the vehicle’s propulsion or vehicle control systems and are only allowed to provide passive feedback for drivers.

ADAS Architecture

UTK ADAS Architecture

UT’s ADAS architecture is shown in Figure 1. One camera and one front Radar has been used as the sensor set for this architecture and haptic devices have been installed in the driver seat to relay the driver feedback signals. Two embedded devices are used as the main processors in this architecture: an NXP S32V234 Evaluation Board and an Nvidia Jetson TX2 Developer Kit.

Team Tennessee has used the Single Shot MultiBox Detector (SSD) as the object detection algorithm and has developed its own sensor fusion algorithm to fuse the vision based object detection outputs and Radar detections. A sample otuput of the sensor fusion algorithm is shown in Figure 2. The bounding box displays the detected object category, an object ID and also the relative distance of the object.

Fusion Algorithm Output

Driver Feedback

Driver feedback signals are generated based on the distance of the objects in the same lane as the vehicle, the relative speed of the objects and the stopping distance of the vehicle. According to these parameters, three different levels of vibration can be generated in the haptic devices installed in the driver seat to relay an immediate warning. The driver feedback system operates as a collision avoidance system, generating warning signals only when there is a chance of collision.

Competition Results

In May 2018, Team Tennessee won the award for Best ADAS Vehicle Demonstration at the EcoCAR 3 Competition held in Yuma AZ, Pomona CA and Los Angeles CA, ranking first among 16 North American universities in this event. The University of Tennessee EcoCAR3 team placed sixth overall and won numerous top prizes in this competition.

Team Tennessee Camaro