Scott Shearan – Award update 2

03/09/17 – 15/09/17
Location : Coventry
Work: Aurrigo (RDMGroup)

Final 2 weeks of work experience at Aurrigo with plenty going on, with lots of trials with Jaguar Land Rover and more demonstrations being delivered in our Test Facility (UDL), My role with the team is becoming more vital and I am making a positive impact. We had also set up our remote monitoring station of the pod in the UDL for our Prototype Pods, When we were usually running vehicles tests or trials we had to have a laptop setup inside the vehicle which required us to be inside the pod monitoring software and communications of the vehicle but we were wanting to make it more realistic of having no one in the vehicle and remotely monitor what the vehicle was doing. So we spent a bit of time setting up camera’s and equipment for the remote monitoring, it was all a success and are no longer required to sit in our prototype pod to monitor the vehicle as we can do this from another location.

On the final week at Aurrigo, RDM’s Australasia Autonomous Programs Director, Roger Van Der Lee came visit us from South Australia to attend meetings and spend time with 3 members of the South Australian Government who came to visit looking into future transport with Aurrigo. This was a successful week with lots going on and a view of a bright future for autonomous vehicles.

Friday, my final day at Aurrigo… well I thought so until there was jobs that were booked in for me the following week! They were quite eager to hold onto me and I was still quite eager to hang around and be involved, but I had already booked a trip to Germany for the following week and had told them I will not be available until after that trip. They were happy to see me go off and enjoy a break. After that break I was offered the Role as Development Engineer and decided to undertake that role, where I will part of a company I will learn so much with and be at the pinnacle of Autonomous Technology.

19/08/17 – 3/09/17
Location : Coventry
Work: Aurrigo (RDMGroup)

New place again!

Left Milton Keynes on Saturday the 19/08/17, arrived in Coventry in the morning all signed into my new accommodation and I was ready to go.

Nick Ridler an engineer from RDM has previous been in contact with me regarding meeting up just to show me around town, So as soon as I had finished setting my room up he came and picked me up to show me around town. He then decided to take me to the RDM Factory to give me a sneak peek before I started on Monday, we arrived and I was a little hesitant with how it looked from the outside, but when I went in… I got butterflies in my stomach from excitement!!

Well set out and there was this huge hall with projectors, projector screens, fake walls and much more all for testing the autonomous pods, it was something I was really looking forward to getting involved with. He gave me a tour around the rest of the factory which includes rooms for harness fabrication, PCB building, Software engineering, use CNC machines, 3D printing machines and a whole lot more. There was even a machine they had been working on which is to help people suffering from cerebral palsy speed up the time for learning to walk with a lot of the technology coming from automotive. I was very excited to start the following Monday.

Nick had also introduced me to his children and was using my story as an example of how hard work does end up paying off, he was explaining to his children that hard work can take you around the world and it really does make me feel proud someone looks at me as a role model from the other side of the world.

I am with RDM Group working on their autonomous pods. The Pods have 4 seats, electrically driven and level 5 Autonomy.

If you’re wondering what level 5 autonomy is, it is the highest level of autonomy where these is absolutely no human interaction on the route it is on. The vehicle is capable of driving just like a human avoiding obstacles, adapting to its environment (rain ,dirt road and etc). Most vehicle manufacturers are only offering a level 2 of Autonomy with their Autonomous vehicles.

Quick read on the levels of Autonomy if interested.

Over the first 2 weeks at RDM I had spent a lot of time in the test facility working with Jaguar Land Rover on their project about Human Interaction with pods and also looking at the build of the pods. The project with Jaguar Land Rover has been a good experience. Myself and another employee named Craig Cannon have been working together setting up routes and the implementation of negative incidents to help study human interaction with the pods. A lot of routes would involve the volunteer hopping inside of the vehicle while being filmed and having their heartrate monitored. We would let the pod drive itself avoiding obstacles and imminent danger from someone stepping in front of the pod, then another part of the project was having the volunteers on the outside of the vehicle approach the oncoming pod and see the volunteer reacts to it. This was really interesting seeing how people act towards the pods and also we had a few laughs from the reactions people had during the negative incident where it starts heading towards a wall or obstacle.

Craig and I had made huge steps forward on the prototype of the pod in the test facility, from where we were starting off sitting in the Pod to keep any eye on the map ensuring the computer was making all the correct decisions to stepping out of the pod and watching the pod operate with no one inside it. Lots of excitement and plenty of steps forward.

Has been a very exciting 2 weeks with RDM from building the pods, Software, Software calibration and testing. Plenty going on and learning a lot. Looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

Bit of short story on all that is happening but I am experiencing a lot over here and having fun!


21/07/17 – 19/08/17
Location : Milton Keynes
Work: SBD Automotive, Autonomous Division

Milton Keynes is quite a funny place, so much going on but still such a quiet town, with a massive shopping centre, go-karting, indoor ski-field, indoor skydiving and much more. The shopping Centre had the walk in dealerships with the vehicles on display and also a single display shop with various electric vehicles funded by manufacturers and the government to help educate people on electric vehicles with the people working in there very well trained even when you ask technical questions they are responding with correct and informative answers.

The town is well setup for future vehicles with electric charge stations place everywhere for electric vehicles and the street layouts are like a grid making it easier for current autonomous technology to adapt to, in saying that there has been trials of autonomous pods in Milton Keynes quite regularly but unfortunately I was not able to see any when I was there.

Also big shout out to Doug Mullen from Toshiba who I had met at a Manufacturing forum,  sent me his brothers details John Mullen Ex British Aerospace Chief Engineer who lived in a town Bedford which wasn’t too far away where I met with John and his wife Shirley who took me out for a great weekend in his Classic Vauxhall showing me all around.

Now onto SBD Automotive, Something different and new but I absolutely loved it.

Quick overview of the Company. The company has offices all around the world : UK, USA, JAPAN, Germany, China and INDIA The company is a Research and Consultancy company, so when say a OEM or Supplier wants to do research on a specific topic within the Automotive Sector depending on the job, they are contracted out to companies like SBD.

PLEASE understand I am limited to the amount of information I can share on my experience and limited with photo’s I could be taking due to the type of work that is being done.

The SBD has 3 main Divisions:

  1. Autonomous. Autonomous will do in-depth research on Current and Future vehicles on any topics to do with Driver assistance to full autonomy.
  2. Connected. Connected Vehicles, in-depth research on the connectivity of vehicles from your phone, to the cloud or back to the dealership.
  3. Secure. Secure is all about the Security of the vehicle whether to do with breaking into vehicles, by-passing immobilizer systems, taking control of vehicles over the air and much more.

Secure had a very interesting job going on at the time I was at SBD, The team had a project from a OEM and had spent most of the day behind a door that was only accessible by keypad entry, all the work being done had to be recorded on paper and nothing digitally (computer and etc) as strictly ordered by the OEM.

I was placed in the autonomous car team which included a team of 8 including myself now, I sat next to Alain Dunoyer, he is an extremely bright person with a PhD in Control Systems, he is the head of Autonomous cars at SBD. I was given my own desk, laptop and all the essentials so I was ready to go. The Autonomous team had a meeting with the other autonomous teams from around the world every week where we spoke about where we were up to in projects or if a project was complete we would present it. I really enjoyed having these international meetings as I was even being involved in explaining my whole story from where I have come from and what it is like with hands on experience to actually having my input in ongoing projects.

For the first couple of days I felt a bit out of place trying to get use to everything especially this being my first office type of job, but I got on with it trying my best and really got into the flow. The first project I was in a team of 4 including myself and was for Renesas and future forum presentations which was developing Power Point presentation on the Communication architecture (how computers talk with each other on the vehicle) and from there we are trying to work out the trend’s in communication systems for ADAS (Advance Driver Assistant Systems) & Autonomy. The part of the project I covered was doing research on Audi, BMW, Mercedes , Tesla and Volvo.

It was a great project to start on due to the reason I was able to use my tradesperson knowledge of interpreting wiring diagrams and co-ordinating through very difficult OEM websites to find information. After I had completed my first part on the Volvo I had asked Alain to go over and check everything, he had a look over and he says ‘oh’ and I have just felt my heart sink, I said ‘oh, it wasn’t what you expected?’, he just laughed and said ‘No, I wasn’t expecting something this good’. He seemed really impressed which was good!

The Volvo slides I had done ended up becoming examples for the rest of the team on how it was supposed to be presented, Alain was happy to let me lead the group project where I was leading 2 interns and another research analyst as my previous experience knowledge on the field was of great assistance. After a few weeks we had finished up on the presentation by the due date. It was very interesting project finding out who was really leading the way in Autonomous Driving and ADAS.

The project that  I was next given was put together a presentation for DENSO on the topic of Pedestrian Interaction with Driverless Vehicles and Electric Vehicles, This was a very interesting project due to reason we are trying to push these autonomous vehicles but there is so much work in just pedestrian interaction with the vehicles besides be sides just getting the vehicles to drive themselves. To make you think about the type of information and concepts we were researching about, think how much interaction is done just between the pedestrian and driver through eye contact, gestures, flashing of lights and horn. Then also making it safe for people who may be deaf or blind. This project was my last one before my time was up at SBD, it was all done by the due date and was presented.

On the very last day (Friday 18/08/17) at SBD everyone grouped around to give me a presentation with presents and a signed card from the whole office, it was fantastic.
Alain had some great feedback saying “that as a manager role I was an absolute dream as I was able to complete work without the need of coming to ask for much guidance”.

Overall experience at SBD was an absolute blast and I had learnt so much!
Company was fantastic made me feel more than welcomed, no matter who you are speaking to they will talk to you and have a laugh there is no one thinking they are better than anyone else, there is regular outings where we all hang out and just enjoy each other company. Plus the company had even put me in their company flat which was so nice and handy.

A video of Alain if you are interested in who I worked with.

16th September, 2017

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