June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Two Year College Division
Smart, Connected, and Autonomous Automobiles – the impact on two-year college technical education
Although most of the population cannot afford a new automobile every new model year, the auto makers use mass media to advertise their new vehicles each year and to introduce the public to the new features of their products. It should be obvious to even the casual observer that today’s automobiles have never been as intelligent or technologically sophisticated as they presently are. In fact, automobiles are in the process of morphing into super-computers/robots on wheels. It is widely predicted that in a few short years autonomous cars will be in mass production and as they become an appreciable fraction of the automotive fleet automotive transportation will forever change for the better. The most important change will involve vehicle safety but many have predicted a whole host of other sociological changes to human behavior involving automotive transportation. Today, the automobile manufacturers advertise advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like self-braking or collision avoidance systems. Enabled by embedded controllers and complex sensors and actuators ADAS systems are becoming standard equipment on an automakers fleet, not just the high-end models. In the near future, using these technologies, more sophisticated sensors, and wireless networking technologies the automobile will become a true cyber-physical system aware of its surroundings and capable of autonomous operation.
Presently, formal education of these advanced technology enablers is woefully lacking at vocational (K-12), post-secondary technical schools, and two-year colleges that teach automotive technology. Furthermore, most colleges that offer electrical/electronic engineering technology (EET) education at the two-year college level, as of yet, do not have educational courses or programs to teach this new technology if they were called upon to fill the need. The enabling technologies for these ADAS systems are interdisciplinary in nature. Computer networking for automobiles, embedded controllers, wireless communications, radar and LIDAR are not common topics found in typical EET programs, let alone an automotive technology program. Autonomous automobiles will need an additional support infrastructure that will allow vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, as well as, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) or vehicle-to-roadside (V2R) wireless networking. There will need to be an effort made to produce technicians with the skill sets needed to install, evaluate, maintain, and up-grade these advanced automotive systems and support infrastructure as they are presently being manufactured and envisioned for the future.
Mullett, G. J. (2017, June), Smart, Connected, and Autonomous Automobiles – the impact Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28829
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