AutonomouStuff collaborates with UIUC to build an automated future

30 May 2018

People standing next to a red car and holding stop signs

“Our collaboration with AutonomouStuff is an important factor in my efforts to establish an effective, world-class, autonomous systems program in ISE Department for the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” said Dr. Norris.

There has been a long history between AutonomouStuff and U of I from workshops to faculty to providing products for research products. After the university purchased the AStuff Autonomy Starter Kit, we extended an invitation to graduate-level students from University of Illinois Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE) to the Morton facilities to gather data for their graduate research projects. Each research project, unavailable to the public, questions how the world currently works and presses toward a better understanding of the future of autonomy.

All of us at AutonomouStuff believe in questioning what is and furthering what we can do with automated vehicles. A Polaris Gem e2 (pictured) was donated in the spirit of collaboration to the university faculty and students as a platform to perform research and development. As a result, future dreams of an innovation lab focusing on automated driving technologies began to take root. It would be a lab where students and faculty could have hands-on experience with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technologies to make world-changing breakthroughs. AutonomouStuff is proud to work with ISE to advance research and development in the autonomous industry.

University of Illinois branded Polaris Gem

AutonomouStuff’s Director of Engineering, Joe Bucker, had the chance to visit the university on many occasions to work with ISE professors and students, training them on how to use the kit on a Lincoln MKZ (pictured). ISE researchers used this information to build courses around autonomous systems and vision challenges with autonomous vehicles.

“This project is exciting because we have the opportunity to join forces with some of the most brilliant minds in the area and see the results from their research using our products,” Buckner said. “Having U of I so close is a great resource for us.”

In the photo below, ISE students are testing autonomous driving components on a Lincoln MKZ.

Person standing in front of a red car holding a stop sign

The kit was purchased by Professor William Norris for his program in autonomous systems; his student team will perform research with the Polaris GEM e2. Dr. Norris returned to ISE from industry to initiate an autonomous systems program and teach. He has more than 17 years of experience in the conception, research and development, product development and customer support for autonomous and unmanned ground vehicles.

“At AutonomouStuff, we have built a global ecosystem of technology partners and over 2,500 customers who are all in need of technologies and highly sought-after talent," said Bobby Hambrick, AutonomouStuff’s Founder & CEO. “Our collaboration with the University of Illinois fits well within our mission of enabling the future of autonomy. We are proud of our university relationships and will continue to do our part to prepare for the future of transportation.”

In the video below, Joe Buckner is riding along as the MKZ drives autonomously.


About the Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering

The Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering is committed to developing and integrating the knowledge and tools necessary to create an engineering discipline of complex systems.  Research in ISE centers on several areas including Data Analytics, Decision and Control Systems, Design and Manufacturing, Financial Engineering and Operations Research. 

Autonomous systems are a core competency for ISE as they require the integration of many of the department’s technical research strengths.  The undergraduate degree in Systems Engineering and Design has a unique track dedicated to Autonomous Systems and Robotics. Visit to learn more.