Cody Fleming / Engineering 

My proposal can be summed up quickly: several students and I will ride around in autonomous cars.

To make a short story long, the “Dream Idea” will likely consist of at least two trips and possibly three. In the first trip, we will venture all the way to Crozet and get both a tour and test rides in several cars built by Perrone Robotics. Note that I have a relationship with the company, and Paul Perrone is an esteemed graduate of our engineering school. This aspect of the Dream Idea should be relatively straightforward and will give our students an idea of what a successful UVA graduate can do with her, or his, career.

The next aspect of the Dream Idea involves a bit more uncertainty. My preference is to travel to Pittsburgh and test drive (test ride) in autonomous cars designed and tested by Uber. While there, we could also meet faculty and students from Carnegie Mellon University, get tours of Uber’s engineering facilities, and possibly do something fun in Pittsburgh (e.g. art museum, sports game), depending on the date and interest of the group.

While I do have some connections with people there, there is some risk that nothing comes to fruition. In that event, a possible alternative involves Torq Robotics of Blacks- burg, another autonomous car startup that came out of one of the national competitions that started Perrone Robotics. I am one degree removed from direct contact with them and am confident of a connection.

Ultimately, the size of the group is mostly a function of the proposed trip to Pittsburgh. I would prefer we driven in a van, embracing the ‘van time’ ethos of the proposal guide- lines. It is approximately a 5 and 1/2 hour drive, so I envision one overnight and meals, as well as possibly tickets to a gallery or event.