Research project: A new mobility solution using autonomous vehicles


Seating Sensor

As an undergraduate student at MIT, I had the opportunity to work on the ‘Mobility on Demand’ project at the Aerospace Controls Lab. Its aim is to provide on-demand transportation by autonomous vehicles on MIT campus. I was involved in the startup stage of the project.

My main contribution was equipping a golf car with sensors. I designed a variety of mounts to rigidly attach these devices as well as a quick release platform for a 3D laser scanner. My work involved design, machining, 3D printing, and installation. We also built a miniature version of the car which will operate indoors.

My other major contribution was to developing a seat-occupancy detection system. Ultrasonic range finders measure the distance between the roof and the seat and report a significant change if a person is sitting in the seat. I wrote a C++ ROS node that takes the readings from several sensors, filters them, and eventually publishes how many people have been sitting in a specific seat.

Furthermore I modified existing ROS packages to interface with our GPS module and an IMU sensor. While working on this project, I learned how work and program with ROS. Additionally I gained experience in developing software solutions with a larger team in a git-based repository.