AIMing for Automated Vehicles

Paul F. Grayson, AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog, Control Engineering

The U.S. armed forces have had smart weapons for a long time now. It is just recently that they realized they need smart supply trucks. Hi, I am Paul F. Grayson, Team Leader of American Industrial Magic (AIM), one of last remaining teams of the 390 teams that worked on vehicles for the DARPA Grand Challenge series of unmanned vehicle races. AIM is working to save soldiers lives by searching for ways to make driverless Army supply trucks affordable. AIM is funded by donations from individuals like you who want to speed up the fielding of this life-saving technology. With this blog, you can look over my shoulder while I and my team work on  this important technology. You will get a chance to look into the world of unmanned robotic vehicles, see some of the things that I see, and puzzle over the challenges of making vehicles driverless. Welcome to my world!



Full Auto Brake; Operations Manual

March 25, 2010


We call our program Vision 2020. Volvo Cars’ vision is to design cars that should not crash. In the shorter perspective the aim is that by 2020 no-one should be killed or injured in a Volvo. We first launched our strategy back in 2005.  – Malin Persson - Safety & Environmental Communication - Volvo Cars Public Affairs


Sep 22, 2005 | ID:5086
Mobility 2020 Vision according to Volvo Cars: Sustainable mobility without accident.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has identified a number of challenges we face as a society so we can enjoy freedom of mobility in a safe and a sustainable way in the future.  Most of the issues are directly linked to Volvo Cars’ core values of safety and environment.  “We have a responsibility to be part of the solutions that brings the world sustainable mobility. From a business point of view this is also a great opportunity and we are bold enough to think that we can help create a traffic environment where most accidents can be avoided ,” says Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Brand, Business and Product Strategy at Volvo Cars.

Volvo Vision 2020 is a framework for the company’s aim to maintain leadership in the field of safety and the environment. At the same time, Volvo must continue to make cars that appeal to people’s emotions.  “Sustainability for us is also a matter of remaining a profitable company. To be considered the best in terms of safety and the environment is not enough,” says Lex Kerssemakers.  Traditionally, Volvo Cars is associated with protective safety systems. In later years, more and more features related to preventive safety have been introduced so the company can remain competitive in the quest for safety-conscious car buyers.  “The next step is to go outside the car. Tomorrow’s cars will start to communicate with other road users. If we can do this so well that cars no longer collide and can avoid accidents involving other road users, we will be talking about a different kind of car than today. This would have a huge impact on the design. The car could be lighter and more efficient, which means less fuel consumption and lower tailpipe emissions” says Lex Kerssemakers.

From common good to private good The level of environmental awareness is increasing year by year.  However, many customers are reluctant to buy environmental technology because he or she consider this to be “common good” - in other words something that is everybody’s responsibility and benefits the society as a whole rather than the car owner as an individual.  There is a greater willingness to rather pay for “private good”, such as engine performance, colour and trim and all those things that attract an individual buyer.   “What we need to do is to work on concepts customers are interested in and willing to buy.  The Volvo brand is strongly connected with safety and the environment - and these assets have given the company competitive advantages through the years. It is extremely important that we continue to develop features that confirm our brand values also in the future. This is what our vision is all about”, says Lex Kerssemakers.

Only recently have other car companies realized what Volvo was saying and what it would mean to them as competing car companies.  Remarkable, a car that saves the lives of the people in it.  Of course the only way to reach this goal is through Advance Active Safety System or in other words vehicle automation.  How much would that be worth to you?

If you are interested in being part of this, I see on their website that they are advertising for help.   Ford owns the Volvo Car Company today, others own Volvo Machine Works that makes Mack trucks and off road equipment.  Ford has offered its Volvo for sale and it looks like a car company in China will close on the deal the end of the first quarter this year.  Volvo will then be owned by China.


The Operations Manual is a reference book that each of the TC Tinkers Business Members can refer to for the processes and procedures used to run the Business from day to day.    These are meant to be the minimum used by successful businesses all across the USA.  By following the trail blazed by successful businesses, you are not likely to stray too far off the path into economic danger.  People who have not run a business before need a place to look to find out how orders are placed and shipments checked in….all the things that become second nature to the people in an established operation need to be detailed here for beginners to use.

One line of products sold will be from Altered Iron.  on consignment.  The Members need to discover what consignment is and how it works.  For that or any other common business term they don’t understand they can turn to the Operations Manual.


We need to find a farm wagon that someone is willing to donate for the TC Tinkers to use as a parade float for fairs, festivals, and other gatherings that cover the Michigan Festivals Map.   Attending these events is a great way for the Members to travel and an opportunity to recruit new Members and new Volunteers for 4-H.   It can be part of their after school, weekend, and summer job instead of working for a fast food chain.   With the 11 kids and 5 adults that the club has there is a good chance we can make it work. Perhaps you will want to join us on our business adventure?


Although 61 degrees F today, it is supposed to be 31 degrees F tomorrow so we must have propane to keep things from freezing.  The propane truck was here to raise the tank level to 70%.  I was starting to get a little bit concerned since  the tank was down to 25% where the red zone starts.  The shop is too cold for the paint to dry properly that I have used to paint the engine that is going back together so I have created a hot box to warm up just the air around the engine.


Keep track of TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club developments by joining their Yahoo Newsgroup at:

To subscribe to AIMing for Automated Vehicles as a RSS feed: If you are using Internet Explorer to read this page, go to  and add it to your “Favorites” by clicking the little gold star with a green plus sign in your tool bar, then click on “subscribe to this feed…”. To view the feed in the future you go to “Favorites” by clicking on the little gold star and AIMing for Automated Vehicles should be listed there. Click on it and catch up on what is new!


Paul F. Grayson - Chief Engineer
American Industrial Magic, LLC
“small engine and machinery repair”
TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club
“Science, Engineering, and Technology”
390 4-Mile Rd. S.
Traverse City, MI 49686-8411
(231) 883-4463 Cell
TC Tinkers 4-H Robot Club:
CE Magazine:

Posted by Paul F. Grayson on March 25, 2010

click me