Rapid digital development is leading to new challenges. Master's students at Chalmers University of Technology are part of the solution in a project where education meets industry.

Chalmers University of Technology is located in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden, and focuses on education and research in technology. The university is also known for its sustainability profile and close connections to the technology industry.
In an exciting new collaboration, ten students from mechanical, automation and mechatronics engineering programs at Chalmers have teamed up with students from a similar background at the University of California, Berkeley to develop a new product for Volvo Cars. In addition to finding future engineers to link to their business, the company will get round-the-clock progress and improved creativity due to the diversity of the combined team.
“We want to prepare our students to work for global companies. It is also a good opportunity for us to compare our educational quality with the corresponding programs at American universities,” says Mikael Enelund, head of the mechanical engineering program at Chalmers.


The team from Berkeley started work on the project in September, 2018 and the team from Chalmers joined in January. The aim is to develop a system that will help self-driving cars recognize road signs even if they happen to be discolored or defective, by using methods such as image recognition and artificial intelligence.
“The complexity of it all made this project so interesting to me. It seemed to be quite the challenge,” says Jonatan Nord, a student from Chalmers who was eager to join the team.
His initial gut feeling quickly proved correct. As soon as work started on the project the team stumbled upon another problem. 
“We realized we had to find a solution so this system could work in the nighttime too, and that was a bit tricky. But since the possibilities with image recognition are endless we are now close to finding a solution,” says Adam Wirehed, a Chalmers student.
The communication between the teams has been working smoothly, according to Wirehed.

The groups meet weekly on Skype and discuss the progress daily on Slack. They also have access to each other's Google drives to check on each other’s work. In March, the Swedish students went to California to visit the Berkeley students “in action.”
”Meeting with the Berkeley students "in real life" really set the ball in motion and got the project moving more quickly than our regular meetings on Skype. But we have always felt like they are our peers and that our work is at the same level as theirs,” says Wirehed. 

“The trip to Silicon Valley has also been a great source of inspiration for us, since we got to visit many of the cutting-edge technology companies. They gave us input on our work that actually helped us move this project forward as well,” says Robin Halfvordsson, a proud member of the Chalmers team.
The students will present their work for Volvo Cars at the end of May, with the hope of working on similar projects for the company in the future.
Chalmers will continue similar collaborations through Volvo Cars and Volvo Group with the University of California, Berkeley, Penn State University and the University of South Carolina.

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