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  • Writer's pictureRyan Tian

Autopilot Research Intern in UMich

“If the air quality is terrible in Los Angeles, if crime is on the rise in Dallas, or if a company has a lot of recalled toys, whenever (an) institution has to answer to the public, transparency can spur change.”

- Cass Sunstein “How Change Happens”

As I worked at UMich last summer with Dr. Shan Bao on training the computer vision systems of self-driving cars, I recognized an ironic element of the situation. Here I was, pursuing a paradigm-shifting, potentially world saving technology in the very state responsible for the unprecedented production of the very machine that has brought about the environmental crisis. Confused about how to respond to this realization, one thing was certain: the institution I was learning within was answering to the public and spurring change. UMich shares my mission to change the world through diligence and creative thought. 

In my pursuits of making an impact, I looked to wards the University of Michigan and interned at one of the research projects at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). The automated driving project I worked on soon became a major inspiration for me, and I made valuable contributions to the research.

While at UMich last summer, though I was the only high school student among respected professors and graduate students, I was able to apply my areas of experience efficiently. I designed 3D models, simulated vehicle behavior, and optimized programs to improve efficiency in data management. With this amazing opportunity, I took a step towards helping families in a world with an increasingly interconnected and complex transportation system.

The model I worked on is demonstrating to the visitors

Working alongside respected professors and esteemed graduate students, I designed 3D models, simulated vehicle paths, and assembled interactive presentations for Toyota. Working as an intern was tremendously rewarding for me as I could use my dedication and skills to build towards a cause I believed in with all my heart alongside others who shared the same vision.

Throughout my time at UMTRI, I was fascinated by the diversity of the community and the diligence and intelligence to be found in every room. This journey into research would only push me further into my lifelong goal of making an impact through connecting art, engineering, and innovation.

MCity in University of Michigan

I missed this meeting room.

The meeting room and pizza ... wait, who ate it?

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