Renault partners UTC and CNRS for shared autonomous vehicles research facility

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Mar 2017


Renault and Heudiasyc, a joint research unit formed by UTC (Université de Technologie de Compiègne) and the CNRS, are creating a shared research laboratory known as SIVALab, to be based in Compiègne, north of Paris, France.

Shared laboratories embody a partnership between a research unit and a company to support long-term research. The partners sign a renewable agreement for a period of at least four years, laying down rules in advance on how the findings will be used and how intellectual property will be shared.

This scientific and technological partnership is founded on the relationship of trust that has been growing for more than 10 years between the research units of Renault and Heudiasyc. SIVALab (a French acronym for Integrated Systems for Autonomous Vehicles Lab) is being created to provide a structure geared to long-term scientific developments and major programmes.

The shared laboratory, whose governance and resources are being provided jointly by Renault and Heudiasyc, will deploy a four-year research programme on perception and localisation systems supplying honest, reliable navigation data for communicating autonomous vehicles.

The collaboration’s main purpose is to study and develop autonomous vehicle localisation and perception systems with a view to offering greater accuracy and reliability. In addition to sensors, data will be sourced and analysed from pre-defined navigation maps and dynamic connections from other users and the infrastructure. By smartly combining the data from these multiple sources, the vehicle will systematically turn out a better performance than with sensors alone, regardless of the situation.

“Our partnership strategy is to target the most appropriate laboratories for each research topic and cultivate long-term relationships of trust with them. This enables us to carry out large-scale, quality projects, while sharing our vision and focusing our resources. We chose the Heudiasyc lab to work on the technology building blocks of perception and localisation for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles”, explains Virginie Maillard, VP, Research & Strategy, Groupe Renault.

“The Heudiasyc laboratory has been exploring intelligent vehicles for some 20 years, in line with the strategy of its supervisory institutions, UTC and CNRS. A few years ago, we joined up with Renault for perception and localisation because we share the same vision of the related scientific and technological issues. Furthermore, the shared laboratory SIVALab will be using Heudiasyc’s autonomous vehicle platforms based on the Renault ZOE. These platforms are being financed through the Equipex Robotex program (as an ‘equipment of excellence’), with the support of the Hauts-de-France region and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). Road tests will be considered as part of a partnership with the Compiègne region urban agglomeration”, said Heudiasyc chief Ali Charara.

SIVALab is to be inaugurated today in Compiègne, in the presence of some of the region’s key figures, such as Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region, and Philippe Marini, Mayor of Compiègne, along with representatives from the CNRS, UTC and Renault.