Contextual Robotics Forum 2017: designing the intelligent vehicles of 2025

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San Diego, CA, October 12, 2017 -- All major car companies have committed to having vehicles with some level of autonomy on the market by 2025. With communication, computer vision, autonomy, robotics and legal issues still to be addressed in the intervening seven years, the University of California San Diego is getting in the driver’s seat.

The University’s Contextual Robotics Institute is convening world experts on these topics for its fourth annual Contextual Robotics Forum on Oct. 27. The theme this year is “Intelligent Vehicles 2025” in preparation for that date. Register to attend the Forum here.

“We see the full spectrum of intelligent vehicles coming on the market, from just having smart technology in the car, to fully autonomous vehicles,” said Henrik Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute. Christensen will also be celebrated as the new Qualcomm Chancellor’s Endowed Chair at the end of the forum.

“Here at UC San Diego, we are in the sweet spot to enable this transformation-- we have a number of the leading companies in the field in San Diego, we have a proving ground for testing these vehicles nearby, we have experts in the relevant technology areas at the University, and we’re creating a living laboratory test bed right here on campus,” he said.

Speakers will highlight developments and challenges in autonomy, user experience and vehicle technology. They hail from:

  • -Qualcomm, a mobile technology powerhouse
  • -TuSimple, an artificial intelligence startup developing self-driving trucks
  • -Lytx, fleet and driver management tool provider
  • -5D Robotics, developer of software and sensors for autonomous vehicles


In addition, Peter Thompson, senior technology program analyst at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will provide details on the autonomous vehicle proving ground in San Diego, one of only 10 sites in the nation selected by the Department of Transportation to test self-driving cars. UC San Diego is also developing an autonomous vehicle testing laboratory on campus, where regulations aren’t as prohibitive as on state roads. Christensen said this will start in January with mail delivery courtesy of self-driving carts, and expand from there.

Ryan Calo from the University of Washington School of Law, a preeminent robotics lawyer, will join Thompson and Bruce Appleyard, associate director of San Diego State University’s Active Transportation Research Center, and Michael Kleeman from the UC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, on a panel addressing the social and legal implications of autonomous driving.

The session on vehicle technology will feature Sujit Dey, director of the UC San Diego Center for Wireless Communications; and Gabriel Rebeiz, the Wireless Communications Industry Chair professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. Todd Hylton, executive director of the Contextual Robotics Institute, will chair the session.

UC San Diego researchers Mohan Trivedi, a leader in computer vision and sensors, and Don Norman, director of the Design Lab, will lend their expertise to the User Experience panel along with the chief technology officer of 5D Robotics and the chief technology officer of Lytx.

The Forum also features a Technology Showcase with hands-on demonstrations including human-swarm coordination from the Multi-Agent Robotics Lab at UC San Diego; robotics for healthcare from the UC San Diego Healthcare Robotics Lab; nanorobots for biomedicine from the Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics; driverless vehicle interfaces from the UC San Diego Design Lab, and more.

Media Contacts

Katherine Connor
Jacobs School of Engineering

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