Nova Southeastern Student Spends Summer at the Controls of a Driverless Car

Every Fall, students return to class with stories to tell about what they did over summer break. But how many can say they spent the summer at the controls of a driverless car? Nova Southeastern University student Charles Jawny can.

Thanks to a University of Arizona College of Engineering 10-week summer research program focused on driverless car technology, Jawny and 11 other college students helped to advance the UA CAT vehicle, or cognitive and autonomous test vehicle. Jawny worked on developing hybrid predictive controller technology, which helps the vehicle identify obstacles in the environment without compromising velocity.

“I came into this understanding the programming involved with basic autonomous systems but not the more advanced algorithms and their different implementations,” Jawny said. “Now I have a better understanding of the possibilities of these complex systems.”

The NSF program, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU, provides opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty mentors and graduate students on exciting research projects at universities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

“The program has been challenging, enjoyable socially, and very insightful in the different possibilities for my education and career,” he said. University of Arizona electrical and computer engineering professor Jonathan Sprinkle, an NSF CAREER Award winner who led the 2015 University of Arizona REU program, said the program was a good way to introduce students to research and graduate school.

For more on the UA CAT vehicle program, visit, and to learn about the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, visit