No, this isn’t one of those typical college creations, where a jerry-rigged vehicle will be used to transport him to class or bring him beer. This is an actual car — one he hopes will be able to drive on the New Jersey Turnpike.
It’s why the Brick Township native loves attending the school.
And yet so far away.
You can say the students who are part of the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering team are in a race with technology giants Tesla, Google and Apple.
But professor Alain Kornhauser, who has been leading the group for a decade, admits the truth: Princeton’s efforts will not reach the finish line anytime soon.
In fact, Kornhauser said, unless the group can get more public funding, it may never be more than just a college club.
And Kornhauser can’t figure out why. He’s working with some of the best and brightest students in the land on a project that has the potential to bring a new industry (and all the jobs that go with it) to the state.
“I don’t want to say it’s struggling to get off the ground, but it is working to get off the ground,” he said. “If we would’ve had a little better public-sector support, it would’ve been launched three years ago, but it seems as if the public sector isn’t thrilled about doing this, which is really a shame.”
Kornhauser has been reaching out to companies for years — back when his group had other goals.
“PAVE has its origins with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency challenges from 10 years ago, which were to create a vehicle that could drive by itself and began autonomous driving activities,” he said. “It’s also a part of a bigger activity that we’ve been trying to get off the ground, which is called CARTS, or the Center for Automated Road Transportation Safety.
To read Andrew Sheldon’s full NJBIZ story, click here.