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UT Receives Transportation Focused Grant from the National Science Foundation

An interdisciplinary team of faculty members at the University of Tennessee has been awarded a $399,793 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The team comprising of Professors Asad Khattak, Subhadeep Chakraborty, and Shashi Nambisan was selected by NSF’s Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation for their research proposal titled “Study of Driving Volatility in Connected and Cooperative Vehicle Systems.”

Recent technological advances enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. These technologies allow wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between and among vehicles and infrastructure system elements. These include location, heading, speed, and acceleration data attributes. The research aims to study the role of wireless connectivity and how information from modern sensors can be integrated, processed, and disseminated to offer innovative solutions to address major societal challenges related to safety, mobility, energy, and emissions. The proposed activities are important to advancing knowledge and understanding in areas such as travel behavior, control systems, information technology, and complex transportation systems. The research will integrate educational and outreach activities, and will also provide interdisciplinary training to students, with special efforts made to recruit minority students through UT’s Engineering Diversity Program.

“This grant signifies the leadership role of UT faculty in the emerging field of connected and autonomous vehicles, especially in terms of intellectual merit of the driving volatility concept and the broader social and economic impacts that such technologies are likely to have,” said Khattak, who is a Beaman Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) at UT and Transportation Program Coordinator in the department. He is affiliated with the UT Center for Transportation Research (CTR), where he works on research and educational projects related to the Southeastern Transportation Center (STC) and NURail University Transportation Center. He is also editor of the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Subhadeep Chakraborty is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) at UT. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering and a dual MS in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on control and analysis of spatially distributed dynamical systems. Specifically, his research on evolution of socio-cultural behavioral dynamics in locally connected networks has resulted in several interesting findings related to connected vehicles.

Shashi Nambisan, PE, is a professor of civil engineering at UT as well as education director of the STC at CTR. With more than twenty-six years of experience in transportation, he has led over 160 projects on a range of multi-disciplinary topics related to transportation and infrastructure systems planning, operations, management, safety, data enabled decision support, and workforce development. Among the awards and honors received by Nambisan is a proclamation by the Governor of the state of Nevada designating January 31, 2007, as the “Professor Shashi Nambisan Day” to recognize his leadership and contributions to enhancing transportation safety.

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