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Digital Media Software Engineering Faculty, Students Learning From Autonomous Vehicle Operating System

Autonomous vehicle

The Digital Media Software Engineering program in Ferris State University’s College of Business recently applied for an Academic Senate faculty research grant for their purchase of a Comma Two after-market autonomous vehicle operating system. Collaboration with Television Digital Media Production students is an outgrowth of acquiring this new technology for experiential learning.

A new program in Ferris State University’s College of Business is working with new-age technology, as Digital Media Software Engineering students and faculty have begun an exploration of an after-market, autonomous vehicle operating system.

Assistant Professor Mohamed Abusharkh is the Digital Media Software Engineering program coordinator. He has secured an Open Pilot Comma Two unit from the California-based manufacturer of open-source operating systems.

“We are excited to maximize the opportunity of studying AV operation, which includes the fine points of their technology’s capabilities,” Abusharkh said. “Having products we can explore in our program so our students gain from experiential learning is key to our success. Since autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology, companies are very protective of their intellectual property. To have this unit presents us with an amazing teaching tool.”

Open Pilot has also developed and released its Comma Three unit, with two forward fisheye cameras and a camera oriented to the rear. Abusharkh said their Comma Two gives them plenty to learn about artificial intelligence applications and testing.

“We hope to collaborate with Television and Digital Media Production students this semester for some simple hands-free driving experiments captured on video, demonstrating that our vehicle stays in its lane and operates as it was programmed,” Abusharkh said. “Another system element monitors the driver to assure they are watching the road and ready to assist, if necessary.”

The department’s first experiment in Big Rapids involved calibration of the Comma Two technology and a half-hour test.

“Being able to examine machine learning and artificial intelligence is a great asset for our students,” Abusharkh said. “We will do rigorous engineering and programming testing thanks to the Academic Senate faculty research grant that allowed us to make this purchase with great anticipation for what the unit can provide.”

The Digital Media Software Engineering program is part of Ferris’ School of Digital Media in the College of Business, which has recently added a graduate certificate in Advanced Studies in Autonomous Vehicle Research. Students can also earn the Digital Media Software Engineering bachelor of science degree online. Both educational paths offer students opportunities in an emerging billion-dollar industry.

“The autonomous vehicles certificate is part of our new Master of Science curriculum in Data Science and Analytics,” Abusharkh said. “We hope to collaborate with other leading firms in AI so that our coursework is accentuated with the best possible learning resources as they prepare for roles in this exciting new industry.”