This research experience for undergraduates (REU) is engaged in the myriad of applications that are related to autonomous ground vehicles. This summer, 10 NSF-funded undergraduate students participated in an immersive research experience, sitting side-by-side with graduate researchers and working on one of the most compelling, and complex, applications of today: autonomous systems.
Tomorrow's engineers want to work on compelling, societal-scale problems, and autonomous cars are certainly in that category. Almost all applicants to the program will have a driver's license, but that does not necessarily qualify them to design algorithms that address the computation, communication, and control aspects of this application. To give them an opportunity to address these concerns, a (full-size) robotic car, which is part of the active research portfolio of the PI, was used for 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.