Students show off driverless car tech at UA

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Students show off driverless car tech at UA

By Keaton Thomas. CREATED Aug 12, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Eight students from around the country descended on the University of Arizona this summer and today, they showed off what they have been working on: driverless cars.

 "Our project was working with the vehicle's sensors," says Rachel Powers, a Senior at University of Arizona. "It has an 80 thousand dollar sensor on it right now that generates a 3d image of its surroundings."

"We're designing the way the car drives and giving it its personality," said Anthony Rodriguez, also a senior at the university.

Carlos Asuncion came from the University of California Berkeley to participate in the program.

"It solidified my interest in control systems, so I think I'm going to continue with it," said Asuncion.

Students in the program were working on various projects over the summer with autonomous vehicles like keeping it on a path or avoiding obstacles in the roadway.

Dr. Jonathan Sprinkle is an adviser of the program and an associate professor at the university. He says its important these students were doing the work themselves.

"The real importance is to let students work on problems at a societal scale," said Dr. Sprinkle.

One of the major advantages to driverless vehicles is safety according to Dr. Sprinkle. He says thousands of accidents happen every year due to distracted driving.

"Saving lives is a really great thing to be able to work on," said Dr. Sprinkle.

Students even think it would help here in Southern Arizona.

"Driving around Tucson I think yeah, it might be a little safer," said Powers.

And what could cars without drivers help us do?

"I can see something where we actually have our car drop us off at work and then take itself to fill it with gas and take itself for an oil change," said Dr. Sprinkle.

Students and faculty think self driving vehicles could be on the road in some for within the next 5 years.





Keaton Thomas

Keaton Thomas

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Keaton Thomas started work at KGUN9 in June of 2014 and he is happy to be bringing breaking news and stories that matter to Tucson viewers during the week and on weekends.