Aston University and Aurrigo improve driverless vehicle capabilities

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A two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) has been completed by Aston University in collaboration with Aurrigo. The KTP resulted in a machine vision solution being developed to increase the capability of Aurrigo’s AVs.

Following the project, the company’s driverless vehicles can now see and recognize objects in much greater detail, meaning they now benefit from enhanced performance across an array of operational domains. Previously, the autonomous vehicles could only detect obstacles in their path, but could not ascertain what the object was, causing them to stop.

The team used computer vision systems partnered with machine learning and artificial intelligence to help the vehicles to differentiate between objects of interest. This technology has since been applied to Aurrigo’s airport Auto-Dolly, enabling it to understand what different airside objects are, thereby enhancing operational performance.

The Aston University team was led by Dr George Vogiatzis, senior lecturer in computer science, who has extensive research in machine vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence, including deep learning neural networks and deep learning methodologies for indexing large video and image collections. Vogiatzis was joined by Dr Luis Manso, lecturer in computer science, whose research interests include active perception, social and assistive robotics, ambient intelligence, robotic cognitive architectures, human-robot interaction and deep geometric learning.

James Heaton, KTP associate for the partnership, deployed computer vision and machine learning systems onto Aurrigo’s autonomous vehicles. Heaton has since been employed by Aurrigo as a machine learning engineer.

“This KTP has been a great way for us to work with a new industrial partner whilst applying our expertise in deep learning and robotics to the exciting field of autonomous vehicles,” said Vogiatzis. “It is very rewarding to see the success of this collaboration.”

Prof. David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo, added, “KTPs provide resource and academic support to companies with development ideas which otherwise may not be possible. This partnership has allowed us to produce a system which has resulted in our vehicles becoming smarter and more capable and enabled us to expand our operations, particularly with baggage handling in airports worldwide.”

To read more about Aurrigo, click here.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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