“BME engages in autonomous vehicle R&D with two courses”

Two new complementary master’s programmes will be available at BME and ELTE from this autumn and are now open for applications. The new programmes were introduced at a press conference.

The Budapest University of Technology and Economics launches a master’s course in autonomous vehicle control engineering, Rector János Józsa said when talking to journalists, senior leaders and professional staff of BME and ELTE (Eötvös Loránd University) and industrial partners in the university’s automotive centre.

BME’s senior official said that the English language programme has been designed to train professionals in the development of autonomous vehicles, the most dynamically developing field of the vehicle industry, at the Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering. “Although autonomous vehicles are still in the design phase, the academic field has already become engaged in order to be able to respond to industrial needs in a flexible way,” said the academic. He stressed that “BME is able to build efficient competencies but industrial research and development require partnerships”. He was delighted that the establishment and launch of the new programmes were supported by both the Institute for Computer Science and Control of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA SZTAKI) and large corporations saying that “we wouldn’t have been able to do this on our own”. He added that the test track development project in Zalaegerszeg will play a key role in research in this field.  (Editor’s note: Reports on the programme delivering the science behind the development of autonomous vehicles have been previously published on bme.hu.)

Guests at the event on behalf of BME included Chancellor Gyula Barta-Eke, István Varga, Dean of the Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering (KJK), Gábor Tevesz, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK), Gábor Péceli, Professor at the Department of Measurement and Information Systems at VIK, Charaf Hassan, Professor at the Department of Automation and Applied Informatics at VIK and Zsolt Szalay, Associate Professor at the Department of Automotive Technologies at KJK.

The master’s course in autonomous vehicle control engineering will be launched at BME in September 2018. Course attendants will gain a broad range of knowledge in the fields of design and development of autonomous vehicles, which are highly valuable for any of the actors of Hungary’s dynamically growing vehicle industry. Additionally, students can also acquire unique practical skills in relation to the testing of autonomous vehicles in cooperation with the Automotive Testing Track Zala Ltd. at KJK’s training and research facility in Zalaegerszeg.

As highly intelligent cars, robots and devices will play a key role in future societies, the opportunity BME offers to the faculty’s prospective students to acquire the most advanced knowledge in automotive research and development is truly unique. Teachers of the course will include tutors from BME’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Informatics and Civil Engineering.

As part of the RECAR (REsearch Center for Autonomous Road vehicles) programme, the new course combines the theoretical knowledge provided by the university with practical experience available through cooperation with BME’s partners. The research centre established by BME, MTA SZTAKI, Bosch, Knorr-Bremse and Continental has developed an educational structure which is guaranteed to offer the graduate students internationally recognised knowledge and skills. (Editor’s note: A previous bme.hu article < http://www.bme.hu.)

In his speech, János Józsa said that there were approximately 20 000 job vacancies for IT specialists in Hungary at present, which he believes may only be filled by speeding up their training and, in order to respond to these needs, BME will launch a new, so-called Bachelor of Profession (BProf) course in computer operations engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics. He stressed that “the curriculum of the new course abridged to three years will be delivered by the same excellent teaching staff that teaches at the other courses of the university”.

Alongside its other well-known and high quality BSc programmes, BME offers the BProf computer operations engineer course to students who prefer acquiring more practical skills and a concentrated range of theoretical knowledge in order to start working as IT specialists in the labour market in the shortest time possible. The duration of the BSc and the BProf courses is 7 and 6 semesters respectively. Semester 5 and 6 of the latter includes a cooperative training delivered by the university in partnership with companies. This arrangement allows students to meet part of their subject requirements by working at the company while also gathering hands-on work experience. A strict requirement in the training of professional computer operations engineers is that both the subject matter and the quality of the workplace activities students are involved in match the university’s educational programme. Master’s courses continue to be available only for applicants holding a Bachelor’s degree.

László Palkovics, Minister of State for Education said that autonomous vehicles are important for Hungary. As an example, he mentioned – similarly to others speaking before him – the development in Zalaegerszeg, connected to BME programmes, which will deliver a test track for self-driving vehicles. He added that “the automotive industry is a priority for the government and it is important to ensure that Hungarian economic players are involved not only in manufacturing and assembling vehicles but also in the related research and development and also benefit from the results of such activities”.

The dean of ELTE’s Faculty of Informatics reported that ELTE will also launch an English language master’s course in autonomous system informatics from September. Zoltán Horváth stressed that this course and BME’s programme in autonomous vehicle control engineering are complementary programmes. He explained that BME focuses on the technology aspects of this field while ELTE concentrates more on informatics. “ELTE’s new course will enable students to design complex software systems allowing self-driving cars to constantly collect and analyse data and make decisions, which will improve the predictability, comfort and safety aspects of transport.”

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Photo: János Philip