Dylan Watson: Self Driving Cars! My CATVehicle REU Experience

Marshall University Student Spends Summer at the Controls of a Driverless Car

Dylan Watson joined the University of Arizona’s CAT vehicle summer research program to learn more about computer science. He found himself at the controls of a driverless car.

“I had heard about autonomous cars and how Google was making them, said Watson, “but I did not know how I could help make an autonomous vehicle.”

As part of a prestigious National Science Foundation program, Watson spent 10 weeks in Tucson with nine other college students from across the nation helping advance the UA’s cognitive and autonomous test vehicle.

He worked on the car’s Lidar, which uses light to measure distance and creates 3-D maps, making it possible for the car to detect and react to obstacles.

“We are helping make it safer to drive an autonomous car,” Watson said. “If you have ever wanted to be a part of something that matters or just wanted to get out there and explore engineering, this is the way to do it!”

The NSF program, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, provides opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty mentors and graduate students at universities throughout the United States.

“The students left here knowing what research was and how interested they were in doing research,” said UA electrical and computer engineering professor Jonathan Sprinkle, a recent NSF Career Award winner who led the 2013 University of Arizona REU program. 


To view a video about Dylan Watson’s REU experience, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcDMuRtITLQ&list=PLcXdwRQiNMIrddWAggJ_6M7xa6kxrhkp7

For more on the UA CAT vehicle program, visit http://catvehicle.arizona.edu/

To learn about the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, visit http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/


Professor Jonathan Sprinkle, University of Arizona College of Engineering