Florida Polytech Collaborates With MIT To Bring Autonomous Vehicles Course To Central Florida
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Recently I’ve been getting emails and calls from some teens in the community inquiring about how they may be able to apply themselves in our changing/renewable world. Besides recommending them to click on Windermere Sun’s Jobs & Business Opportunities category and Loans & Grants For Small Businesses category in the header, I’ve also asked them to consider checking out the possibility of becoming an ambassadors for Tesla’s Solar City or a career with Tesla’s Solar City. Yesterday I’ve come across an additional possibility for our young people in the community to consider: learning about the technology for self-driving cars.
“This is the future of transportation. So we’re preparing our students to be comfortable in this new world and to be ready to advance it,” said Dr. Bushey, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology of Florida Polytechnic University (FPU) at Lakeland, Florida. Dr. Dean Bushey is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with more than ten years of experience in developing and advancing autonomous systems. He will be collaborating with professor from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) of Boston to teach this new “Autonomous Systems and Self-Driving Vehicles” course, such that MIT professors will be providing video conferencing lectures to students at Florida Polytechnic University (FPU).
In this new course, students in groups of five will be upgrading a small race car, learning basics such as motion control and object detection. By the end of the course, the car will be able to independently following a yellow line, stopping at a red light, and stopping for sudden obstacles. President Randy K. Avent of Florida Polytechnic University (former Associate Chief Technology Officer at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory), said, “Hands-on learning is one of the key foundations of this institution. Autonomous and connected vehicles are part of the emerging industries and we have a unique opportunity here at Florida Polytechnic to lead innovation in this industry.” The syllabus and project work for programming autonomous cars of this course was developed by MIT and originally used as a summer study program for high school students and Florida Polytechnic will offer a similar program in summer of 2017 to local high school students.
This autonomous vehicle course is part of the Florida Polytechinc ‘s preparation for the arrival of SunTrax, a new testing facility near FPU.
SunTrax is a joint venture between FPU and Florida Department of Transportation designed to test tolling and autonomous vehicle technology. Located off of I-4 in Auburndale, SunTrax is a large-scale, cutting-edge facility dedicated to the research, development, and testing of emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments. This 400-acre site will include a 2.25 mile long oval track, providing an opportunity for high-speed testing, with a 200-acre infield that will allow for the testing of different technologies. Many of the opportunities are related to tolling and automated and connected vehicles. The entire site will be a connected environment for the testing of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications.
Even though FPU is not currently offering a degree program for autonomous vehicles, but it is one of the few universities even offering a course such as this. People in Central Florida who are interested in robotics or autonomous vehicles may benefit much from looking into this course and/or FPU for this is part of the Game-changers for our future. Autonomous vehicles and robotics will surely be in our future.
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