SOUTHFIELD–Eight students from across the nation will spend eight weeks this summer at Lawrence Technological University learning the technologies behind autonomous and connected vehicles under a National Science Foundation grant.
The program, now in its second of three summer sessions, was created by C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU. He applied for and won a $281,712 grant under the foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. Participants live in LTU’s residence halls and receive a $4,800 stipend.
“Students will design and implement robust algorithms to self-steer real vehicles to drive on a test course under dynamic lighting conditions using AI and deep learning methods,” Chung said. “In addition, they will implement and test V2X–vehicle to everything–communication functions. Their designed methods and test results will be published in academic papers.”
The students are Travis Forgach, a computer science student at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Brendan Franz, a computer science student at Harvard University; Matthew Jones, a mathematics student at Willamette University; Milan Jostes, a computer science student at Lawrence Tech; Michael Khalfin, a mathematics student at Rice University; Luke LeGoullon, a computer and systems engineering student at Louisiana State University; Shilpi Shah, a computer science student at Rutgers University; and Jack Volgren, a computer and systems engineering student at Pennsylvania State University. A committee selected the students from a field of 61 applicants.
The students got their first chance to drive the vehicles Friday in the atrium of LTU’s Buell Building, and also met with LTU President Tarek Sobh and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Outreach Lisa Kujawa.
“What you are doing is very close to my heart,” Sobh, a robotics engineer before becoming a university leader, told the students. “Congratulations on being accepted.” Sobh also told the students that autonomous vehicle technology is by its nature interdisciplinary, since it requires drawing from a wide variety of engineering, computer science, mathematics, and design skills.
The summer program is based on Chung’s 20-plus years of experience with LTU student teams in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, a collegiate autonomous vehicle event held each year on the campus of Oakland University. The competition is presented by OU’s School of Engineering and Computer Science; the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center; a local intelligent vehicle business, Great Lakes Systems and Technology; and the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International.
LTU is the five-time reigning world champion in the IGVC’s self-driving car competition. The 2023 IGVC is scheduled for June 2-5 at OU in Rochester.
Through Chung’s efforts, LTU has obtained two Polaris GEM electric vehicles that have been modified with self-driving technology from a variety of industry partners.
Collaborating with Chung on the summer program is Joshua Siegel, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University.
The students’ demonstrations and final presentation July 17 and 18 will be open to the public at times still to be announced.
More information about applying for the summer 2024 session of the program is available at https://www.ltu.edu/arts-sciences/mcs/nsf-reu.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.