Cal State LA Shifts into the Future Autonomously

Written By: Jennifer Bulnes

Last week at Cal State LA, the CSULA EcoCAR3 team was pleased to share its road with a Silicon Valley startup company, Varden Labs.


Former students of the University of Waterloo originally established the company in Canada. Ironically, the University of Waterloo is one of two Canadian schools currently participating in EcoCAR3 Year 2 of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) like CSULA.


Co-founder, Mike Skupien, showed the specifications of the indicatively designed, 4 passenger, all electric, autonomous car to students, faculty, guests and local media. From its 3D laser scanner (Lidar), GPS Antennas, sensors and computer system to emergency safety switches, after all safety first, right?


Passengers were shuttled at speeds of up to 7 mph on a 10 mph winding and hilly road that overlooked the Los Angeles Mountains.


“There are two types of people that respond to this,” as Mike Reid, Strategic Partner of Varden Labs stated. “The interested Engineering standpoint and the business aspects interest,” Reid added. Communications Manager, Jennifer Bulnes, then asked, “What do you think is unique about Cal State LA and EcoCAR3?” and Reid responded, “With CSULA EcoCAR3, it’s a mutual understanding.” Meaning, the team sees the value in both aspects.

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Varden Labs plans to extend their testing pilot over the summer, of 2016, to businesses and universities. For a ride into the future, test their autonomous car.

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