Spectators at Student Demo Take a Spin in UA Driverless Car

Thanks to students taking part in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the UA, members of the Tucson community got to ride along in a driverless car.

"It feels like there is actually someone driving it, but it was eerie to see that nobody was next to me," Elizabeth Curbelo, business manager in the University of Arizona electrical and computer engineering department, told news reporters.

Eight students from universities in Arizona, California, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia tested their summer research on the Cognitive Autonomous Test vehicle, or CAT vehicle, during a demonstration at a UA parking lot on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Students, faculty and staff, friends and others in the Tucson community watched -- and rode.  

The students -- whose research projects ranged from designing path-following controllers to using spinning lasers to detect obstacles -- were part of a 10-week NSF program that competitively selects a small number of students from colleges around the nation to experience the world of research. 

Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Jonathan Sprinkle, who won an NSF Career Award in 2013 and whose research in complex autonomous systems is internationally recognized, led the program.

For news videos on the CAT vehicle, visit:

KVOA’s story

KGUN’s story

KOLD’s story

For more on the National Science Foundation’s REU program, click here


View photos of the day’s events below: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering