Kettering University is proud to be one of eight schools in North America to be selected to participate in the AutoDrive Challenge. | Full Story 

The Kettering University SAE AutoDrive team finished in fifth place overall and received five awards in the Yuma, Arizona round of competition.

Team News

AutoDrive team placed fourth and won five awards overall at AutoDrive Challenge

The Kettering University SAE AutoDrive team finished in fourth place overall and received five awards at the conclusion of the inaugural competition on May 5 in Yuma, Arizona.

Kettering’s team – the Bulldog Bolt – received the following awards during the first competition:

  • Second place, Social Responsibility report
  • Second place, Technical Reports (based on the interface analysis and safety concept document)
  • Second place, Lateral challenge
  • Third place, Design Concept report
  • Third place, Design Concept event (based on their presentation)

President McMahan on AutoDrive

President Robert K. McMahan discusses Kettering's involvement in AutoDrive with Paul W. Smith on WJR.

Listen to the interview >

Smart Belt Coalition

Kettering University has joined an esteemed multi-state consortium of universities, government agencies and advocacy groups to form the Smart Belt Coalition (SBC).

Full Story >

Autodrive Challenge

SAE International and General Motors (GM) have partnered to headline sponsor AutoDrive Challenge™, the latest of SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series.

This newly established, three-year autonomous vehicle competition will task students to develop and demonstrate a full autonomous driving passenger vehicle. The technical goal of the competition is to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level 4 definition by year three.

Throughout the AutoDrive Challenge™ competition cycle, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding.

Kettering University is participating in the competition alongside the following schools:

  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technical University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo
  • Virginia Tech

Kettering University’s campus is equipped with the infrastructure and faculty expertise to develop the next generation of autonomous vehicle technologies.


Kettering is the only college campus in the country with an industry-standard proving ground. Phase 1 of the proving ground was completed in Fall 2016 and Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2017. When completed, the facility will include a low-speed road course with elevation and surface changes, a 3.25 acre test pad built to race track performance specifications and other features aimed at creating diverse testing environments. A garage facility will be constructed to include automotive bays, conference and office space and indoor lab space.

Faculty Expertise

Kettering’s selection for the AutoDrive Challenge is partly due to the campus’ commitment to inter-disciplinary academic and research projects on campus. Faculty in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science collaboratively developed the goals, objectives and opportunities for current and future Kettering students to participate in the AutoDrive Challenge.

Participation in the AutoDrive Challenge allows Kettering University to fund two full-time graduate students over three years and engage up to 30 additional students across multiple disciplines to meet the objectives of the autonomous vehicle challenge.

This challenge puts Kettering students at the forefront of technological innovation related to the development of autonomous vehicles, connects them with a network of scholars and peers from the nation’s elite schools who are attempting to solve similar challenges and provides access to national workshops hosted by SAE International.

Kettering faculty are also currently prospecting opportunities to develop new classes around autonomous vehicles and its associated technologies in order to broaden the impact of the challenge to the entire campus.


Thomas J. Sommer
Sr. Director of Philanthropy - Corporate & Foundation Relations
(810) 762-9525

Craig Hoff
Dean of the College of Engineering
(810) 762-9856

Dr. Diane Peters
Faculty Lead
Mechanical Engineering Professor
(810) 762-7916

Faculty Team Members

Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Jennifer Bastiaan
Dr. Diane Peters 
Dr. Rebecca Reck
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Xuan Zhou
Dr. Girma Tewolde 
Dr. Jaerock Kwon 
Dr. Juan Pimentel 
Dr. Mehrdad Zadeh
Dr. Jungme Park
Computer Science
Dr. Giuseppe Turini 
Dr. Yunsheng Wang 
Dr. John Geske
Hadi Rahmat-Khah 


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