Applications for REU 2019 are open. Apply Now!

The CAT Vehicle research experience for undergraduates (REU) is engaged in the myriad of applications that are related to autonomous ground vehicles. Every summer, 10 NSF-funded undergraduate students participates in an immersive research experience, sharing common research experience with graduate researchers and faculty metors who are champions in the field of connected and autonomous vehicles and working on one of the most compelling, and complex, applications of today: connected and autonomous vehicles and smart transportation.

We understand that the new generation of engineers want to work on compelling, societal-scale problems, and autonomous cars are certainly fall into that category. Almost all applicants to the program will have a driver's license, but this not a constraint in getting involved in research projects that requires designing algorithms to address the computation, communication, and control aspects of the connected and autonomous vehicle technology. Accepted students will be working with (full-size) robotic car, which is part of the active research portfolio of the PI, and has been used to design student research topics. Various interfaces to the vehicle will be exposed, enabling students to work on specific projects that analyze data while the car is in use, or that carry out experiments with the car.

We want your application! Please check the list of important dates.

How to Apply

You can fill out Step 1 without having the additional materials at hand. Please make sure you gather your materials prior to finalizing your application in Step 2.

  1. Step 1: Fill out the online application form. The form is the NSF CISE Common REU Application form, and you may elect to have your application considered by other REU Programs (we recommend doing so, and it has no bearing on your acceptance chances in this REU). You can fill out this form prior to preparing your additional matterials.
  2. Step 2: Follow the link provided in that confirmation form in order to submit your additional materials when you have prepared them.
    1. Indication of your primary interest as either autonomy, or cognitive radio
    2. A statement of interest, describing career and technical goals
    3. An unofficial transcript, which includes GPA
    4. Names and emails of two (2) referrers who will submit recommendation letters. At least one (1) letter must come from faculty who can address your potential for research in engineering, software, or mathematics. The referrers will submit your letters using a separate form.

Preparing Your Additional Materials

You can prepare your additional materials at any time, but you must submit them by the application deadline, and your letters of reference should arrive before the submission deadline, in order to guarantee full consideration. All additional materials are submitted in electronic form, unless you prefer a paper form (see this page for the mailing address, in that case). Remember that any submitted materials must arrive before the submission deadline.

Autonomy vs. Cognitive Radio: This is a mutually exclusive selection of your technical focus for the summer.  The CAT Vehicle REU Site focuses on the intersection of many different technologies, but chief among them are autonomous vehicles, and cognitive radio. Because many technologies that will enable vehicle autonomy to scale come from cognitive radio applications, CR is a key research area for this REU Site. The emphasis area selected will help us choose students who can contribute to each major topic.

Statement of Interest: Your statement of interest has no minimum or maximum page limit, but should be a first-person description of your own career and technical goals. We will have your entire transcript and other records, so this is the chance you have to tell us what you see in your future, or things about your life that are not revealed in those materials. You should also help us see the context of your choice between cognitive radio and autonomy (above). Applicants are encouraged to focus on one area, rather than explaining why they could do either one.

Unofficial Transcript: Your transcript need not be officially stamped, though official transcripts can be scanned and then submitted. The transcript should provide all your enrollment information through the current term, including your current class enrollment. You may be asked to provide an official transcript and proof of enrollment upon acceptance.

Letters of Reference: Prior to the recommendation deadline, we must receive at least two (2) letters of reference, and at least one (1) letter must come from faculty who can address your potential for research in engineering, software, or mathematics. Letters should be from faculty who can speak to your technical capabilites and research potential. If your GPA is near the minimum requirement, then we recommend that you have a letter from a previous research supervisor, who can speak to your demonstrated ability to do research. If you later decide to change the name or details of a referrer, it is OK as long as that referrer submits the letter and provides your information.

Late submissions: If you submit after the original application deadline, then your faculty letters of recommendation will be requested if your application is considered competitive.


Interested students should be rising seniors in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, or have a strong software background. Minimum requirements for consideration include:

  1. US Citizen or permanent resident
  2. Rising junior or senior in engineering, computer science, or mathematics
  3. Have strong software skills
  4. GPA of at least 2.9

Students near the GPA minimum requirement must have a demonstrated previous experience in undergraduate research, and a recommendation letter from their research supervisor. If you have a low GPA, you must have demonstrated research ability, and you should have both recommendation letters from someone who can speak to your technical abilities.

Preference will be given to students who are interested in research, and considering an advanced degree. Members of under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


By applying to this program, you are not commiting to attend. However, if you are selected and you elect to attend this REU, you will be asked to commit to this REU only, and you will not be available to be paid to work on any other projects, or be an active employee any other jobs, for the 10 week period (including weekends and evenings).

CAT Vehicle REU 2018 Team with  the self-driving car CAT Vehicle