Professor Tim Barfoot will head the University of Toronto’s team in the North American self-driving car competition

Two Canadian universities have been chosen to participate in a North American competition to develop a self-driving car in three years.

The University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo will compete against each other and six American schools with the goal of autonomous driving in an urban setting by 2020.

General Motors and SAE International, an engineering association, have launched the competition designed for undergraduate students that they’ve dubbed the “AutoDrive Challenge.”

Tim Barfoot, an engineering professor with the University of Toronto who is overseeing his school’s team, said student demand is intense just days after last week’s announcement that the university had been accepted as a competitor.

“There’s something about turning a robot into a vehicle that really captures people’s imaginations,” Barfoot said, adding 250 students have expressed interest in joining the team. Full story…