> VSI Labs

Supporting the development of automated driving technologies

Established in 2014 by Phil Magney, VSI Labs is a Minneapolis-based research and advisory firm specializing in active safety and automated driving technologies. With a team of just 12 employees, VSI offers unique and flexible services to companies throughout the AV ecosystem.

VSI Labs is not trying to build a better self-driving car, but rather support the companies that are. VSI’s applied technical research pertains to the design and development of active safety or automated driving functions. Their reports and research repositories contain technical information about the integration of hardware and software components used for these applications. While many companies subscribe to VSI’s syndicated research platform online for industry insights and technical information, others who supply the components and systems that go into self-driving cars can have their technology implemented into one of VSI’s research vehicles.

VSI’s primary vehicle, a 2018 Ford Fusion, is the main platform for the team’s applied research. Aptly named the “Capability Demonstrator,” the vehicle travels to conferences throughout the year to expose people to autonomous driving while exhibiting the systems enabled by the sponsored components. These components are integrated by VSI’s AV Solutions Engineers to test and demonstrate the capabilities enabled by their technology.

Earlier in 2019 the Capability Demonstrator logged over 3,000 miles in a first-of-its-kind cross-country drive to Santa Clara, and later to Washington, DC. These two long-distance testing projects, the Automated Drive West and East, provided VSI with an invaluable opportunity to test automated driving applications under conditions they couldn’t otherwise replicate.

The goal of these drives was to evaluate the benefit of using precision lanes models and enhanced GPS technology to improve the performance and safety of highway autonomous driving applications. The team also sought to better understand how these technologies operate across varying terrains, weather, and driving conditions.

Being in Minnesota, VSI is developing automated driving applications in one of the country’s toughest climates. There are a host of issues in getting autonomous systems to work amidst inclement weather. For example, automated vehicles typically rely on lane markings to control their positioning and trajectory, but this functionality is compromised if the lanes are covered with snow. To combat this, the VSI team has developed an alternative solution with precise localization methods that help the vehicle know exactly where it is and where it is going even if the lanes are obscured.

Automated vehicle systems are a rapidly emerging global technology. Partial automation is already commercially available in passenger cars, while fully automated vehicles will start emerging in major cities in just a few years. Due to such rapid advancements in automation, consumers must keep up with the benefits and limitations of this new technology. As an industry-leading researcher of automated vehicle technologies, VSI is able to provide critical insights to industry leaders, state and federal government agencies, and anyone else looking to understand the ecosystem of automated driving.

VSI Labs

[email protected]
7600 West 27th Street, Suite B11 Saint Louis Park, MN, 55426, United States

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