Magna International

Fulfilling the Hunger of Young Engineers

With an eye toward the future of mobility, Magna has been helping students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Delft University of Technology to develop self-driving race cars for the new Formula Student Driverless competition.?

As the final race of the season approaches in August in Germany, Magna expertise and technology are accelerating software development and leading-edge academic research.?

As a sponsor, Magna provides the students with state-of-the-art equipment to use in the competition vehicle.?

This includes long-range forward cameras that, in effect, act as the driver’s eyes. While Magna provided the devices, the MIT team wrote the cameras’ software.

Formula Student Driverless competition provides students with invaluable experience on a whole range of vehicle systems, which is highly relevant for today’s automotive careers.

Benjamin Saltsman, Magna director of advanced product development for corporate engineering and R&D


“Instead of using lab equipment, the team gets automotive-grade equipment, which hopefully gives them higher scores in the Engineering Design assessment,” explained Benjamin Saltsman, Magna director of advanced product development for corporate engineering and R&D.?

?Magna also provided the team with its ICON Radar, a critical building block for self-driving cars that takes the best of military technology and improves on it for automotive use. The advanced radar, a significant step toward full autonomy, is a critical element of the competition car and may prove particularly valuable in poor weather conditions.

“High-level mentoring” is a key part of Magna’s relationship with the students, too.

“The student team is amazingly resourceful and self-sufficient,” said Saltsman, who graduated with a master of science degree in system design and management from MIT in 2002. “My mentoring style is simple: it’s important to explain things in a way that people can understand and relate to.”

?He adds: “The MIT team is doing the hard engineering work and some interesting software development. This is a recruiting tool for us, as well. We’re interested in the talent.”

Coming from a mobility technology company and one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, Saltsman is proving to be a compelling guide for the next generation of automotive engineers and designers.

He is a Magna point person for engineering students at several universities, including the University of Michigan and Cambridge University.

“Formula Student Driverless competition provides students with invaluable experience on a whole range of vehicle systems, which is highly relevant for today’s automotive careers,” Saltsman said. “It can certainly fulfill the hunger of young engineers.”

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