A North Carolina Central University School of Library and Information Sciences professor has received a $190,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help improve the function of self-driving cars.
Assistant Professor Siobahn Day Grady, Ph.D. said she will use the grant, provided through the Historically Black Colleges and Excellence in Research program at the NSF, to analyze and identify problems encountered by self-driving vehicles. The data will become part of a $1 million NSF project to analyze problems encountered by self-driving vehicles, with the aim of detecting and reducing such incidents in real time.
“This research is very timely and relevant; it’s the future,” Grady said. “I’m excited to contribute to the field as well as provide research opportunities to students.”
Lead investigator on the overall project is Daniel Limbrick, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University, where Grady became the first woman to graduate with a doctoral degree in computer science in 2018.
The researchers will analyze the fault-detection capabilities of autonomous vehicles and look for ways of improving reliability. Three types of faults will be examined: transient, which occur due to external factors, such as the environment; intermittent, where problems are known to occur on an occasional but regular basis; and permanent, which occur regularly because of a physical malfunction and must be corrected to achieve reliability.
The project will result in enhanced course options for students at both institutions, as well as outreach and engagement opportunities, Grady said.
"Dr. Grady is a pioneer in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Jon Gant, Ph.D., of the School of Library and information science. "Students in the SLIS graduate program in information science will gain high-demand skills by working with Dr. Grady to develop the next generation of vehicles that will be more intelligent and make transportation in our society safer,” Gant said.
Grady joined the faculty of NCCU in 2019 as assistant professor of information systems. She earned her master’s degree in information science at NCCU in 2009. She also holds a master’s in computer science from NCA&T, where she was a Chancellor Distinguished Fellow.
In September 2019, Grant was honored by the If/Then Initiative and the American Association for the Advancement of Science as one of 120 national STEM ambassadors. Life-sized 3D statues of the female scientists will be unveiled this summer at NorthPark in Dallas as part of a $25 million initiative by Lyda Hill Philanthropies to highlight female scientists and encourage more girls to enter the STEM fields.