Mississippi State University Speeds Autonomous Vehicle Research with Quantum

CAVS is uniquely positioned to lead development of next-generation autonomous vehicles. Faculty and student engineers can access MSU’s powerful high-performance computing (HPC) resources for modeling and simulating a broad variety of driving situations. At the same time, the CAVS team can capture real-world data and test vehicle systems using a newly acquired 55-acre property—an area of diverse terrain dubbed ‘the Proving Ground.’

The center’s work is valuable for any organization that needs to operate autonomous vehicles in complex environments where there are no streets signs, lane markers, or even roads. The autonomy systems and insights produced at CAVS will be vital not only for the military but also organizations in agriculture, energy, construction, forestry, and more.

Handling Mission-critical Data
From the trails of the Proving Ground to the university’s HPC labs, the work of CAVS engineers revolves around data. Sensors mounted on test vehicles generate a wide array of data about the outdoor terrain—including information about soil, topography, trees, and plants. That data is then used to create a digital twin of the environment, which is employed for running driving simulations that supplement data collected by physical vehicles.

Creating a high-quality digital twin requires high-quality field data. The CAVS team needs onboard storage systems that can flawlessly collect that data and then enable engineers to transfer data seamlessly to the large-scale data center storage used for simulations.

Collecting High-speed Sensor Data at the Edge with Quantum
The CAVS team selected Quantum R-Series Edge Storage for collecting test-vehicle data. R-Series systems are ruggedized, in-car devices designed for high-speed data capture in the field.

R-Series systems also accelerate the process of transferring the data collected in cars to the storage system used for conducting simulations. To begin moving data, technicians can simply remove a drive-filled magazine from the in-car storage device and slide it into a data center chassis—or use the R-Series system’s 10-GbE port. Automated capabilities then streamline the transfer of raw data to shared storage.

“With Quantum, we can move data from a vehicle to the data center quickly and easily,” says Daniel Carruth, associate director for advanced vehicle systems at CAVS. “We now have an end-to-end data management workflow that lets us stay focused on the insights that all of this data can deliver.”