Haein Jeon, Yong Hoon Kim, Yujin Park, Jiyeong Kang, Eunsik Kim, and Chris Lee.Students visiting from South Korea’s Ewha Womans University will work with UWindsor researchers to improve the performance of self-driving vehicles. From left: Haein Jeon, Yong Hoon Kim, Yujin Park, Jiyeong Kang, Eunsik Kim, and Chris Lee.

East meets West in autonomous vehicle research

A visit from South Korean students will contribute to global advancements in self-driving automobile technology, says a UWindsor engineering professor.

Eunsik Kim is one of four professors — three in engineering and one in computer science — hosting students in his lab from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, the largest women’s university in the world. Master’s students Haein Jeon and Jiyeong Kang, and doctoral student Yujin Park are here as a part of a $460,000 in research projects funded by South Korea’s Ministry of Science. Two other students will arrive in October, with each of the five students staying for six months.

“The global competition to develop advanced connected and autonomous vehicles technology globally is intense,” said Dr. Kim. “The demand for highly qualified personnel in this industry is expected to grow as the sales of autonomous cars increase.”

Kim, fellow engineering professors Chris Lee and Yong Hoon Kim, and computer science professor Sherif Saad, are conducting three-part research to develop an algorithm to improve the performance of self-driving vehicles in traffic with a mix of autonomous and human-driven vehicles.

The goal of the first part of the research project is to develop an algorithm to predict drivers’ mental workload while driving. Using a driving simulator, researchers will collect behavior data and physiological data such as variations in heart rates, brainwaves, eye tracking, and skin response.

The goal of the second part of the project is to develop an algorithm to improve the overall riding comfort of passengers in connected and autonomous vehicles. This could prevent carsickness and make riding in such vehicles more enjoyable.

The third goal is to study how to use artificial intelligence to prevent malicious cyberattacks on the connected systems, improving the safety and security of these vehicles.

With the visiting Korean students all graduates in statistics. Kim said they will bring new perspectives to the labs they are joining. “From that standpoint, this project is good experience for our students, too.”

Kim said it is important to welcome graduate students from a women’s university because “women are under-represented in engineering.”

The students said they were excited to be in Canada, the first time in the country for all of them. They said they will hone their skills in English as well as research.

The South Korean government is spending about $4.1 million on projects in which its scholars collaborate with researchers in the United States, Canada, and China. The University of Windsor is the only one in Canada awarded funding.

—Sarah Sacheli