Who is Prof. Vladimir Vantsevich?

  • 21 Feb. 2020 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 21 Feb. 2020 09:54

Six questions to a researcher shaping the future of transportation with smart autonomous vehicles

Professor Vladimir Vantsevich (right) working on an autonomous vehicle

What do you do?

“I am a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States, and I have been a ground vehicle design engineer for over 30 years. I work on designing systems for self-capable autonomous and conventional vehicles able to take smart driving decisions. In hard operational conditions, these vehicles have greater mobility, manoeuvrability and energy efficiency.

Imagine a self-driving military convoy delivering supplies without putting soldiers’ lives in danger. Each autonomous vehicle following the lead vehicle but experiencing a different terrain and each adapting to the road environment. This is the technology we are developing under the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme project “Agile Tire Mobility for Severe Terrain Environments”.

The success of a convoy operation depends on the terrain mobility of every vehicle, and on the mobility of each wheel. To achieve this, you have to define how much power needs to be delivered to each wheel to provide maximum mobility. Also, if one vehicle gets stuck, other vehicles should have an autonomous capability and be able to avoid that obstacle. The wheel power distribution is critical in operational conditions that require agile, fast and precise manoeuvres of autonomous vehicles.”   

What is your biggest challenge?

“To manage and mitigate hazards, autonomous vehicles should be able to rapidly change in speed, in acceleration or be able to dodge. By reducing the response time of the mobility control systems, we are improving the mobility and survivability of vehicles.”

What are your most recent achievements?

“Recently, we developed smart tires for electric vehicles using new sensors and artificial intelligence-based thinking to guide trucks safely over rough terrain. These agile tires can control the traction performance of a wheel before it starts spinning and before the vehicle begins losing its mobility on severe terrains. It can radically improve vehicle mobility performance and real-time manoeuvrability.”

What is the value of the NATO SPS Programme in this area?

“The NATO SPS Programme offers collaborative research and development opportunities, and provides support for solving cross-disciplinary technical problems. The complexity of technological challenges requires an integrative effort of NATO member and partner countries, and the NATO SPS Programme is an exclusive avenue to develop successful technological solutions.” 

What is the favourite part of your job?

“One of the favourite aspects of my research work is a great feeling of professional satisfaction and happiness on the next day after completing a project milestone. I also enjoy discussing recent research accomplishments with young scientists and sharing newly discovered knowledge with them.”

What do you like doing in your spare time?

“During my high school years, I graduated from a music school and I used to play at a folk orchestra at the Belarusian National Technical University for 15 years. Today, I like listening and playing classical music. During occasional family gatherings, my wife, my daughter and I play piano. Our cats are always appreciative listeners. Music really helps concentrating and refreshing my thinking process. “

Professor Vantsevich is a project director from the United States in the multi-year project “Agile Tire Mobility for Severe Terrain Environments”, supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. This SPS activity brings together scientists from the United Kingdom, the United States and NATO partner country Ukraine to develop, implement and test a new technology for autonomous military vehicles that would improve the off-road mobility by providing agile responses and advanced mobility controls in severe terrain conditions.

"Scientists of NATO" introduces some of the experts involved with the SPS Programme. The Programme promotes dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO member and partner nations based on scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge exchange. It offers funding, expert advice and support to tailor-made, security-relevant activities that respond to NATO's strategic objectives.