UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center
Autonomous Electric Vehicle Technology and its Smart City Infrastructure, Grid and CommunicationsTuesday, April 28, 2015

Autonomous Electric Vehicle Technology, Grid
and Communications Infrastructure in a Smart City

The automotive sector is undergoing rapid upheaval with the arrival of electric vehicles (EVs), semi-autonomous vehicles and now moving towards fully autonomous vehicles. A slew of new companies that did not even exist 20 years ago, such as Tesla, Google, Uber, and others are innovating at a rate that has not been seen before in transportation. The reason for such innovations is change in society's preference towards greater sustainability by way of cleaner fuels to reduce pollution (EVs such as Tesla), ride-sharing to reduce road congestion (Uber), autonomous vehicles to reduce the need for large parking infrastructure (Google). The optimized convergence of these three capabilities would result in exponentially compounded benefits for sustainability transportation of the future.

While there is rapid innovation in the vehicular technology itself, the infrastructure to support the above vision of sustainable transportation including automatic traffic light sensing, instantaneous traffic data, Vehicle to Infrastructure Communications (V2I), Vehicle to Vehicle communications (V2V), managing and delivering electricity to EVs (including shuttles and people movers) while they are moving, managing traffic dynamically based on real-time and historical data, detecting and avoiding pedestrians, and others, is largely absent. This makes it much harder for vehicle manufacturers to innovate towards fully autonomous and all electric vehicles beyond a point. Innovations in the areas of communications, sensors, software, cloud computing, controls, energy storage, power management, battery technology, cybersecurity, big data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are paving the way to create a Smart City of the Future that would enable the above vision.

In UCLA, we are working towards putting together a research and demonstration testbed to investigate several of the above topics. This will be the first technical workshop on the subject of Autonomous Electric Vehicle Technology, Grid and Communications Infrastructure in a Smart City. UCLA faculty and researchers will discuss the challenges, opportunities and technologies that are being developed and that need to be developed in the future. UCLA SMERC testbed plans will be presented and industry, government, regulatory bodies, venture capitalists, etc., will be invited to provide feedback. The WINSmartEV (Wireless Internet Smart Electric Vehicle) testbed infrastructure developed in the last decade at UCLA along with the heterogeneous communications network consisting of 3G, WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Power Line Communications, IEC 61850 etc., both within UCLA and in other parts of Los Angeles including Port of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Pomona, etc., will be presented. This will be used as a foundation platform to expand into the Smart City infrastructure field testbed to support autonomous and electric vehicles as they become more ubiquitous with our Smart Cities vision.

California is playing a leading role in the technologies that would enable this coupling between vehicles and the infrastructure, the electric and autonomous vehicle innovations from academics, as well as new startups are being formed in Silicon Valley and right here in Los Angeles' Silicon Beach. While today we are restricted to semi-autonomous vehicles with range limitations (if they are electric), in the future with the advent of smaller and faster sensors, smart communications such low latency 5G technology, wireless and smart power transfer into electric cars, smart grid, micro grids and battery energy storage that allows energy generated from solar panels to be stored and be available for vehicles as they need it, the vision of the smart city with autonomous and electric vehicles would become a reality. Los Angeles, being the car capital of the world, with its traffic, air quality and parking challenges, provides an excellent testbed for the autonomous and electric vehicles of the future.

The United States has been one of the world leaders in electric vehicle technology as well as autonomous vehicle technology. While we continue leadership in these areas, the problems of the bigger cities in the US are perhaps even more severe in other countries, and so we are seeing large scale efforts as well as cutting-edge technologies being developed in many other countries. Therefore, we need to continue to build our technical and research capabilities, to have close ties between academia, industry and government, and create research testbeds that rival the rest of the world. We are the ground zero of this opportunity and California and Los Angeles are prime candidates for this rapidly developing industry.


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Speaker Nominations

We are currently accepting a limited number of speaker nominations:
Nominate a Speaker

Current Speakers

Mario Gerla
Mario Gerla
UCLA Computer Science
Michael Boehm
Michael Boehm
Managing Director
Advanced Sustainability Institute
Michael Lim
Michael Lim
Executive Fellow
Autonomous Vehicles, City of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation
Patrick Duan
Patrick Duan
Vice President Operations
BYD Motors Inc
Rajit Gadh
Rajit Gadh
UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center
Sanjit Dang
Sanjit S. Dang
Investment Director
Intel Capital
Tsu-Chin Tsao
Tsu-Chin Tsao
UCLA Mechanical and Aerospace

Speakers from previous forums include:

Alexander Keros Manager, Advanced Vehicle and Infrastructure Policy General Motors
Ali Miremadi Manager of Operations Policy California ISO
Bernard C. Soriano Deputy Director, State of California Department of Motor Vehicles
Bob Frazier Director of Technology Houston Electric
Dan Ton Program Manager, Smart Grid R&D U.S. Department of Energy
David Wollman Manager, Electrical Metrology Groups NIST
Doug Kim Director, Advanced Technology Southern California Edison
Erich Gunther Chairman and CTO EnerNex Corporation
Gilbert Weigand Director, Strategic Programs Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Jim Parks Program Manager, Energy Efficiency & Customer R&D Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Kevin Dasso Senior Director of Smart Grid & Technology Integration Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Kurt Yeager Vice Chairman Galvin Electricity Initiative
Lee Krevat Director - Smart Grid San Diego Gas & Electric
Livio Gallo Chief Executive Officer Enel Distribuzione
Luke Clemente General Manager, Metering & Sensing Systems GE Energy - Digital Energy
Malcolm Unsworth President & CEO Itron, Inc.
Marie Hattar VP, Network Systems & Security Solutions Cisco
Mark McGranaghan VP Electric Power Research Institute
Marvin Moon Director of Power System Engineering Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Matthew Lampe Chief Information Officer Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Matt Mikio Miyasato Assistant Deputy Executive Officer Air Quality Management District
Robert Weisenmiller Chair California Energy Commission
Ted Reguly Director - Smart Meter Program Office San Diego Gas and Electric
Timothy Simon Commissioner California Public Utilities Commission
Vincent Poor Professor of Electrical Engineering, & Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science Princeton University
Vikram Budhraja President Electric Power Group
Weston Sylvester Director Distribution Solutions/Smart Grid Siemens Energy, Inc.