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Friday, March 20, 2015

Robotics and intelligent systems math professor Raul Rojas joins College of Science

"Self-driving cars, robotic bees, soccer playing robots and crowd-sourcing information are just a few things on which new University of Nevada, Reno, mathematics and statistics professor Raul Rojas Gonzalez spends his time." summarizes Nevada Today.

Raul Rojas-Gonzalez is a new professor of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Science. He specializes in artificial intelligent systems, robotics and autonomous systems. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

He comes to Nevada by way of a Visiting Fellowship at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton and Freie University Berlin, Germany where he has been a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics.

"It would be hard to overstate the significance of Dr. Rojas joining the University faculty," Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman said. "He is truly a world-class scholar and he is known internationally for his innovative research on autonomous guidance systems for automobiles. He works with several major automobile makers."

Rojas and his team began instrumenting autonomous cars in 2006 at Stanford and Rice University. His vehicles have been licensed for city traffic since 2011, and they have been cruising the streets of Berlin ever since. He has three autonomous vehicles developed for a project in Germany - two standard vehicles and one electric car.

"My intention is to bring the cars to Nevada this summer to continue our research," Rojas said. "My first project here will be to have one of them drive autonomously a few thousand miles. We can't rely on Google maps or other commercial mapping services for the needed accuracy, so we will capture the GPS coordinates for the trip with one of the standard cars, create the needed street and highway graphs, and then make the long drive with a second," he said.

"Raul presents what the future is right now, in this economy with autonomous vehicles," Mridul Gautam, vice-president for Research and Innovation at the University, said. "He's very accomplished, we are fortunate to have him here. There are a number of companies we've already been in contact with for collaborations."

Rojas studies and teaches about intelligent systems and robotics and collaborates across a number of disciplines, and with industry, on a variety of topics. He works with biologists, mechanical engineers, seismologists, educators and computer scientists. His specialty is building intelligent machines, writing programs for robots, and human-machine interface - he and his team even developed a mind-controlled car.

"Right now I'm meeting with everyone, getting to know the landscape here," he said. "I've spoken with Annie Leonard in Biology who is studying bees, with (Nevada Seismological Laboratory Director) Graham Kent who has a crowd-sourcing, fire camera monitoring system, and will meet with others - then I'll put together a more defined plan for the next projects," he said.
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Additional resources
Raúl Rojas (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Source: Nevada Today