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Carnegie Mellon & Argo AI team up to get autonomous vehicles on the road

SOURCE: calvin chou/Unsplash
Carnegie Mellon University and Argo AI teamed up on a five-year, US$15 million project in self-driving cars.

Carnegie Mellon University and Argo AI have teamed up on a five-year US$15 million sponsored research partnership, which will explore advanced perception and next-generation decision-making algorithms for autonomous vehicles.

The Ford-backed company is funding the new research centre – the Carnegie Mellon University Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research – at its alma mater to accelerate the development of self-driving cars. The research will enable self-driving cars to operate in difficult conditions that are common in the real world, such as winter weather or construction zones.

“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Argo AI to shape the future of self-driving technologies,” CMU President Farnam Jahanian said in a statement.

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“This investment allows our researchers to continue to lead at the nexus of technology and society, and to solve society’s most pressing problems. Together, Argo AI and CMU will accelerate critical research in autonomous vehicles while building on the momentum of CMU’s culture of innovation.”

The investment follows the introduction of Argoverse, a set of curated data and high-definition maps that Argo AI released for free to researchers.

Argoverse was created to give academic researchers the ability to study the impact that HD maps have on perception and forecasting, such as identifying and tracking objects on the road, and predicting where those objects will move seconds into the future.

Making datasets like these available to the research community for free “helps compare the performance of different (machine learning – deep net) approaches to solve the ‘same’ problem,” said Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor at CMU who is not affiliated with Argo. “In other words, they provide some sort of a standard benchmark.”

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Carnegie Mellon has been developing autonomous driving technology for more than 30 years. The university’s expertise and its graduates have attracted a number of self-driving car companies to establish operations in Pittsburgh.

Argo AI was founded in 2016 by a team of CMU alumni and experts from across the industry.

“Argo AI, Pittsburgh and the entire autonomous vehicle industry have benefited from Carnegie Mellon’s leadership,” said Bryan Salesky, CEO and co-founder of Argo AI.

“It’s an honour to support development of the next-generation of leaders and help unlock the full potential of autonomous vehicle technology. CMU and now Argo AI are two big reasons why Pittsburgh will remain the centre of the universe for self-driving technology.”