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China and Canada partner in autonomous EV research

The university will partner with the Qinqdao Academy of Intelligent Industries (QAI) and the State Key Laboratory for Management and Control of Complex Systems (SKL-MCCS). An agreement was recently signed by all three parties.

The nature of the research

The Waterloo center’s research activities will involve automated vehicle testing, human-like autonomous driving, applied artificial intelligence and deep learning in automated driving.

A number of initiatives are included in the agreement, including a shared research center for automated driving, faculty and graduate student exchanges, plus a Waterloo PhD program that will focus on autonomous vehicles, and the potential for Chinese startup companies to establish research and development facilities in the Waterloo region.

University of Waterloo taking a global view of research in the area

Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the university said: “Waterloo is committed to taking a global view on research and development and this partnership represents a significant step in our goal of advancing the world’s understanding and use of new technologies. Our dedication to innovation and these types of partnerships will help us to continue to shape the future of Canada and the world’s technologies and economy.”

Yanchen Gao, senior vice-president of QAII for Intelligent Technology Research and Development and Incubation also stressed the international aspect of the research saying: “The Waterloo collaboration is another significant step to strengthen QAII’s international profile, and we are committed to make it a great success. Parallel driving for intelligent vehicles is one of our hallmark technologies and we hope our joint venture with Waterloo brings networked autonomous driving to reality.”

Funding of the research

The Chinese partners are committed to contributing up to one million dollars Canadian each year for five years. The university will provide $4 million to build a new autonomous lab in 2018. It is seeking matching funds from the government to support its initiative. Funding from other external sources will be pursued by all partners. The partners expect that many university-industry partnerships will be created using this joint research platform.

President of China’s QAII and director of SKL-MCCS praises partnership

Fei-Yue Wang claimed: “I have been in close academic collaboration with Waterloo Engineering for 30 years in control, robotics, and intelligent systems and I am glad to witness this exciting opportunity to bring our cooperation to a new and much more grand level. Waterloo has been a world leader in engineering and computer science education and research and the Waterloo mechatronic vehicle research program has provided a solid foundation for the success of our collaboration.I am confident our joint effort will make Waterloo, QAII, and SKL-MCCS the leader and best in research and development of artificial intelligence and intelligent technology for autonomous driving. I also hope our joint effort will lead to the world’s first PhD program specializing in intelligent vehicles and make Waterloo the hub of innovation and incubation in intelligent vehicles and technology.”

The University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is a public research university. Its main campus of about 1,000 acres is located in Waterloo next to Waterloo Park. The university has six faculties and ten schools faculty-based. In 2016 the university had 30.600 undergraduate and 5,300 graduate students.

The university is a member of the U15 a group of research-intensive Canadian universities. It is famous for its cooperative education programs that allows students to integrate their education with relevant work experiences. It claims that its program is the largest post-secondary coop education program in the world with more than 17,000 undergraduate students in more than 140 coop programs.

In 2001 the university announced the development of the Waterloo Research and Technology Park in the north campus. The park was designed to house many high-tech industries in the area. It has the support of the university, Waterloo Regional Municipality, the provincial and the federal government. The aim is to provide businesses with access to the university faculty and co-op education students, and the university’s infrastructure and resources. The project was started on June 2002.

The university has also worked in partnership with the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai. It even had a Dubai campus that opened in 2009 and provided degrees in chemical engineering, civil engineering, financial analysis, risk management, and information technology management. However in October 2012 the university’s board of governors decided to close the Dubai extension.

Waterloo’s research in the field of engineering has been ranked 43rd in the field in the 2011 URAP rankings and second in Canada. The engineering program has been rated as among the best in the world. It is often ranked second or even first in Canada although it has a much lower ranking on the world scale.

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