Can you give me an overview of this project?In support of our client company General Motors’ pursuit of sustainable transportation, our capstone project seeks to quantify the amount of energy connected and automated vehicles could potentially save by operating more efficiently than human drivers. By first analyzing human driver behavior, the team will develop and refine a model for a more energy-optimized automated vehicle. The model will then be used to compare the per-trip energy savings and anticipated greenhouse gas reductions.
What’s your experience working on this project like?What has set this project apart from others I have undertaken is the opportunity to work on a pressing real-world problem with industry level resources, engineers, and students from varying technical backgrounds. I particularly appreciate my peer’s diversity in experience and technical backgrounds, as it results in the generation of very different approaches to problems. I have been able to take fragments of their ideas, learn from them, and improve my own approaches as well. The experience has been tremendously valuable, as I feel that I have become a more creative and versatile engineer.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing with this project?A Google search of “The Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles” will typically highlight improvements in road safety, as well as time and energy efficiency. While the first two advantages are self-evident, the last is a little more obscure — particularly with more immediate alternatives present, such as electric and fuel-cell vehicles. This capstone project is particularly exciting for me because my team and I are in the process of redefining autonomous vehicles’ capabilities, and I am looking forward to influencing how others will perceive its benefits for our society. Kumudra Aung is a Master of Engineering student at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Nagoya University. Connect with Kumudra.
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