Watch: Driving Progress


In Engineering 90, students tackle a design challenge for a year-long project and work with a faculty advisor to create a new invention, device, or procedure. It is the culminating exercise for all senior engineering majors.

For their project, Michael Chen ’17 and Christopher Grasberger ‘17 wanted to combine their interests in robotics and computer vision. The result? “Something sort of like an autonomous vehicle,” says Chen, an engineering and computer science major from Spring, Tex., "which was a really interesting and cool thing for us to do.”

The duo heard there was a large chassis in the basement of Papazian Hall, says Grasberger, an engineering major from Collegeville, Pa., left behind by a previous Engineering 90 (E90) student. They built upon it and added a basic webcam and laptop, in the pursuit of a vehicle that would go where it was told without human input.

"Engineers these days are very interested in autonomous vehicles," says their advisor, Professor of Engineering Carr Everbach. "It's not quite all the way there, but they made a lot of progress and I think it's a good project to show what students can do in a short amount of time."

This project is one of the 27 presented [pdf] by E90 students earlier this month. Others include “Numerical Weather Prediction for Solar Energy Applications,” by Isaac Little ’17, advised by Henry C. and J. Archer Turner Professor of Engineering Art McGarity; “Designing a Robotics Course for Fifth Grade Students,” by Julie Harris ’17, advised by Associate Professor of Engineering Matthew Zucker; "Design of an Aperture Array" by Jacklyn Pezzato '17, advised by Professor of Engineering Lynne Molter '79, "Genetic Algorithms for Analog Circuit Design" by Rachel Sassella '17, advised by Professor of Engineering Erik Cheever '82, and "Oxbow Sustainable Facility" by Michael Fox '17, Gregory Lesko '17, and Cooper Woolston '17, advised by Isaiah M. Williamson Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Faruq Siddiqui.

Swarthmore is investing in its vibrant intellectual culture. Learn how at