Wofford College 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? Wofford College student Lykes Claytor can.

Thanks to a University of Arizona College of Engineering 10-week summer research program focused on driverless car technology, Claytor and 11 other college students helped to advance the UA CAT vehicle, or cognitive and autonomous test vehicle. Claytor worked on creating a system that increases traffic efficiency of driverless cars with a technique called platooning.

“I came into this program having taken one class in artificial intelligence, so I knew a little bit about autonomous vehicles,” he said. “I learned a lot about how research works and learned quite a bit about programming.”

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.

“If you’re majoring in a science field and want to do something more than a summer job at Walmart, you should definitely consider applying for REU,” Claytor 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 http://catvehicle.arizona.edu/, and to learn about the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, visit http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/