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UWaterloo, federal government and Magna International team up to ensure the safety of autonomous vehicles

September 27, 2021   Maryam Farag

Professor Fischmeister in Waterloo’s Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Lab.
Photo: University of Waterloo.

Engineering researchers at the University of Waterloo have teamed up with the federal government and Magna International to help ensure the safety and security of vehicles as they become increasingly autonomous.

A $1.6-million project headed by Sebastian Fischmeister, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, involves the development of theories, methods and tools to produce complex automotive software for connected and automated vehicles.

Magna and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) are each contributing $600,000 over five years, while the University will provide $400,000.  Magna is also contributing a test vehicle for the project.

Yash Vardhan Pant, a new professor of electrical and computer engineering at Waterloo, was hired for this initiative as a direct result of the financial support from Magna and NSERC.

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“The automotive industry faces challenges as modern vehicle features heavily rely on software with new approaches such as machine learning that promise significant improvements,” said Fischmeister, Director of the Real-Time Embedded Software Group, Waterloo University. “While industry races to automate vehicles, it is vitally important to ensure those vehicles remain safe and secure.”

Fischmeister heads the research initiative as the NSERC/Magna Industrial Research Chair in Automotive Software for Connected and Automated Vehicles. Also, a cross-appointed computer science professor and executive director of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), Fischmeister’s main research interests include safety-critical systems as well as connected and autonomous vehicles.

“The importance of safety in automotive systems cannot be overstated,” said Jim Quesenberry, Director of Research and Development, Magna. “Magna is committed to delivering products and systems that not only meet current safety standards but also define the benchmark for future performance.