Look out Google, A&M is working on its own driverless car

Published: Apr. 12, 2016 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Self-driving cars? That is the idea behind research being done at Texas A&M. Students and professors with the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering are working to roll out their very own self driving car.

There is already a lot to look out for a college campus, with hundreds of students walking and biking on a daily basis, but what happens if you put a driverless car in the mix?

Jose Cazares is a grad student at Texas A&M working to make it happen.

“Just more pressure to make sure that everything is done correctly, and that everything is calibrated correctly - a more intensive course to make sure the job is done correctly,” said Cazares.

Alireza Talebpour, an assistant engineering professor at the University, said the car is being assembled off campus for now, but will be hitting the pavement this fall.

"For safety reasons, we will have someone behind the wheel at all times. The person will not interfere with the operation unless there is an emergency case or imminent danger,” said Talebpour.

The fully automated car will use wireless technology to communicate with other vehicles and sensors to monitor its surroundings.

The program will study safety, emissions, energy consumption and what it feels like for those behind the wheel.

"Eventually [we will study] how people inside these vehicles are going to feel during the interaction,” said Talebpour.

Semesters of research have guided the college to this point, but as the car starts to come together students like Cazares will get more hands on experience.

"It gets you thinking, so I like that a lot. It's very challenging because it's very different from what you would learn in the classroom,” said Cazares.

The Sterling Auto Group in Bryan donated the car for the project. Texas A&M University is helping to fund the research.