Robotics Graduate Receives Johann Puch Automotive Award

As part of his graduate degree thesis at the Institute for Robotics, DI David Wirthl developed driving robot to reproducibly test driver assistance systems. In recognition of his scientific work, the voestalpine Stahlwelt presented him with the Johann Puch Award on November 14.

A driving robot consists of several actuators mounted in a commercial vehicle and designed so that the pedals and steering wheel can be operated. Developed by DI Wirthl, the driving robot’s mechanical design gives a driver ample space in the driver's seat so that he can monitor an ongoing test and intervene, if necessary. In addition, no construction parts are in the driver’s area of impact, ensuring the airbags will function if there is an accident.

Di Wirthl remarked, “With the help of the driving robot, my goal was follow a vehicle that has a given trajectory.” A reproducible and accurate following behavior is a crucial requirement to develop and review driver assistance systems.

The concept used for the trajectory sequence control lets the driver assume control of the vehicle and steering. When different tests are being conduct, scientists can focus on the vehicle's longitudinal control once more during one way and on cruise control during another time without influencing the steering control.

DI Wirthl’s work placed second from among over 30 submissions. Endowed by Magna Steyr, the 17th annual Johann Puch Awards were presented in recognition of outstanding innovations and scientific papers in the field of automotive engineering and manufacturing. At the awards ceremony, Steyr CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke remarked: "The winning paper will move the Austrian car industry forward". DI Wirthl is now head of development in the department of "Active Safety" at Dr. med. Steffan Datentechnik.

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