R&D Projects




Dr Ka C Cheok, PhD

Professor of Engineering
750 SEB
Electrical & Computer Engineering Department
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309, USA

1-248-370-2177 (Dept)
1-248-370-2232 (Office)
1-248-370-4633 (Fax) (Email) (Website)

Academic contributions His academic field is in computer controlled systems involving intelligent control paradigm for autonomous unmanned robotic systems and automotive mechatronics. His research has contributed to the theory of adaptive, optimal and robust tracking systems, on-line heuristics search, fuzzy logic and neural networks, and intelligent autonomous agents. He applied advanced techniques to practical applications such as autonomous guidance of mobile robots, and control of automotive systems such as active suspension, traction, stabilized platform, collision avoidance/crash impact reduction systems for automobiles. He has published over 40 technical journal articles and 100 conference papers with these regards.

Professional contributions:

Industry contributions: Dr Cheok has conducted several successful R&D projects to demonstrate how concepts of intelligent autonomous systems can be employed to real-world applications. The projects are described below; they include:

Commercialization contributions: Dr Cheok is also the President of JADI, Inc., a company that specializes in intelligent autonomous robotic vehicles and sensor networks. His company's current R&D efforts are focused on precision self-guidance of autonomous omnidirectional vehicles, UWB RF wireless location networks, guidance avionics for small aircrafts, and application of virtual simulation in intelligent perception. JADI works with Oakland University Smartzone INCubator to transfer technologies between academia and industries. It receives multiple supports and collaborations from government, state and private agencies and industries.

R&D Projects

Auto Lane Centering and Lane Keeping Assist System. Sponsored by Magna-Electronics. Volkswagen Passat equipped with computer vision that determines lane markings and departure info, and steering actuator that torques the steering wheel. Fuzzy logic for perceiving road intersections. Adaptive lane keeping assist scheme (patent application pending).
Ultra Wideband RF Precision Navigation & Guidance of Mobile Robot with Application to Mine Detection. Sponsored by US Army TARDEC. 2006-present. R&D for autonomous mobile robot with mine detection application.
Intelligent Path and Motion Planning for Omni-Directional Vehicle. Sponsored by US Army TARDEC. 2006-present. R&D for autonomous navigation, control and guidance of the ODV with adaptive learning self-optimizing techniques.
Self-guided precision lawn mower. Sponsored by Self-Guided Systems, a working prototype has been fabricated by OU (2000-present) and demonstrated for potential applications as a lawn care vehicle. Its application can be extended to areas of security surveillance, field harvest, etc. Self-Guided Systems has committed to bringing this concept into the commercial and consumer market place and will support OU for the next several years.
Collision Warning and Avoidance (CWA) systems. Automobile safety systems are being researched extensively by automobile manufacturers and their first-tier suppliers. In 1999-2000, OU demonstrated a CWA system for a military hummer to the National Automotive Center at the US Army TACOM facility in Warren, Michigan. With the CWA system, the vehicle would warn its driver and automatically slow down when its sensor integration (radar, sonar and camera) algorithm perceived a potential impending collision. The project led to support from the Army, Ford and Hitachi. It is envisioned that this automotive research will lead to smart systems that will save lives or minimize collisions.
Short-range radars. OU is also working with a radar manufacturer called M/A COM, and Ford Scientific Research Lab, concerning embedded functions for processing the millimeter wave radar. OU is developing neuro-fuzzy logic clustering and tracking technique for short-range radar arrays to monitor traffic in front of the automobile. The project will be sponsored through 2003. Commercialization of the systems is currently being pursued.
Virtual Vehicle System Simulation (VVSS). OU has developed a 16 degree-of-freedom full vehicle driving simulation environment for the purpose of virtual prototyping and engineering performance evaluation studies of vehicle subsystems. The simulation environment is employed for various projects and collaborations. The VVSS has been used to design and benchmark a robotic convoying system in a leader-following configuration for US-Army TACOM. It has been used by the Automotive Research Center (ARC) to simulate and evaluate a rollover warning and avoidance system for SUVís. It is currently being used to evaluate multi-radar collision warning and avoidance schemes for automotive safety application. The VVSS consists of an open architecture mathematical representation of a vehicle system. The architecture allows for Pentium-PC workstation on the local area network, to interact with the simulation execution in real-time, using the Matlab/Simulink environment. The simulation incorporates Human-in-the-Loop and Hardware-in-the-Loop capabilities as well as a motion base simulator for force-feedback studies.

Education Plan and Program

OU has already established the following education program to promote Smart Vehicle Systems through Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC). OU, US Army TACOM, the SAE and AUVSI organize and host the annual international IGVC since 1993. Each year engineering students teams (approximately 200 plus students; roughly 80% undergraduates and 20% graduates) from 20 to 30 universities (OU included) from the US, Canada and Japan build autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVís) that compete in the IGVC events. The UGVís must autonomously navigate around obstacle courses in the quickest and safest manner. The challenge requires integration of multidisciplinary technologies (computer, camera, GPS, radar, sonar, electronics, motors, drive train) with smart system decision (signal processing, estimation, control and navigation). The IGVC is sponsored by government agencies, automotive, robotic and defense industries (see The SVS Center will promote additional events in the IGVC.