On October 11, the Hanyang University team, the Autonomous vehicle number 1 (A1) won the first place prize, which included a cash prize of 100 million won at the first Korea Autonomous Vehicle Contest 2013. The contest was held in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province. It was the first time for the government to hold the Autonomous Vehicle Contest for technical development, industry-academic cooperation, and training cutting edge technology manpower.
The team was created in 2009 and the name of their team, A1, has two meanings: Their entry was the first autonomous vehicle developed at Hanyang University and it was the best among the other autonomous vehicles. As their name implies, team A1 is the great team which was already awarded the first place prizes in the Autonomous Vehicle Contest sponsored by Hyundai in 2010 and 2012. In addition, by achieving recognition for their research performance, they were designated as a National Research Laboratory (NRL) which makes them eligible to receive financial aid from the Ministry of Science and Technology. Despite their short history of only five years, what distinguished them as leader is that they developed their own technology in the Automotive Control and Electronics Lab.
In the contest, the participants have to successfully complete 10 missions. Each autonomous vehicle had to create a route and drive on it while performing missions, such as being able to accommodate variable road environments while employing dozens of sensors a like camera, a GPS, and laser radar, without a driver.
To prepare for the previous contest, the team had to go through many hardships. Lim Won-taek, a member of A1 team said, “Luckily our team’s atmosphere was always so harmonious that there was no conflict among us. Meanwhile, it was hard to prepare so many things in bad weather. Also, the creation of autonomous vehicles requires careful effort for specific circumstances. It was also tough to complete the automobile body. Looking back at the contest day, I was so nervous about making mistakes.
Despite all their difficulties, Lim said that they were able to overcome their difficulties due to teamwork. Lim said, “All the members have a strong sense of responsibility and each member’s accomplishments are excellent. While preparing for this contest, everyone was extremely busy with work, but despite suffering from a lack of sleep, no one complained.”
At the end of the interview with the Hanyang Journal, he talked about his team’s future plan and goal. “In our A1 team, there is no use only one person being excellent. So we aim to develop each individual’s ability, and we will continue trying to achieve our objective of creating the perfect autonomous vehicle.