Pathways to Research Preeminence: Digital Technology and Society

The UVA Digital Technology & Society focus area aims to advance digital technologies to improve the quality of life for humans through its pervasive impact in healthcare, transportation, education, arts, sustainable environment, and digital communication, while simultaneously ensuring that the digital technologies achieve the intended purpose of improving the human condition.

Below are some of the initiatives each of our schools have that are focused on Digital Technology and Society:

Researchers aim to put 'safety-critical,' 'wireless' and 'autonomous vehicles' in same sentence

Tracking Moving Targets in a Dynamic Environment

Currently, engineers have relatively sound techniques to predict the performance of wireless networks when they are stationary. These methods fail when the network nodes are moving. For instance, vehicles passing a tractor-trailer with a large reflective surface can generate multipath interference that can cancel out the communications signal. In circumstances like this, following vehicles have no way of determining the best response to recover that signal and preserve their safety.

“There is a good reason we don’t ordinarily put the words safety-critical and wireless together,” Fleming said.

Fleming, Feng and Whitehouse are following an interlocking three-part approach. First, Whitehouse is using the standard array of sensors that autonomous vehicles use to orient themselves in the environment to generate a constantly evolving model of the vehicles’ physical surroundings.

Cody Fleming and students
Cody Fleming confers with graduate students in the Link Lab.
Ford car
(Calla Kessler/The Washington Post)
A Ford vehicle that will eventually drive itself

How to Make Ford's Driverless Car Experiment Work 

by T. Donna Chen, a faculty affiliate at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Link Lab and Center for Transportation Studies.

Ford announced that it will begin testing self-driving vehicles on D.C. streets, offering urban planners, policymakers and residents a window into how mobility-on-demand autonomous vehicles can redefine transportation.