Like Local 3 News on Facebook:
HOUGHTON COUNTY - When the Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees met today, they learned about a national pilot project underway at the school that has helped the federal government revise its regulations.
Also happening on campus, Senator Gary Peters got a look today at Tech's autonomous vehicle technology research and development efforts.
They're the cars of the future--autonomous cars--able to operate without a driver. That future is being built at Michigan Tech.
Said Peters, "We're on the verge of probably the most transformational changes in the transportation industry and in automobiles and the auto industry. It's really as big as the time the first car came off of the assembly line with Henry Ford."
But in order to implement these innovations in the real world - laws and regulations are needed. Which is part of why Senator Peters - who is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee - made the trip to the Copper Country.
"Having him be able to come to campus, understand our situation, understand what we're working with and the kind of work that we're doing, that our scientists and engineers are doing, makes all the difference in the world when he gets back to Washington," said David Reed, Vice President of Research at the MTU APS Research Center.
Peters added, "The only way to write good legislation and have good public policy is actually talk to the experts who are doing it day in and day out."
Just as important to the research being done is the education of future engineers. The research center has a mobile lab--able to be adapted for educating middle school students to working engineers--all on the go.
Said Reed, "We can bring in everywhere from 6th grade students and give them a very introductory talk about science and engineering, or we can have continuing education for practicing engineers."
"We need to have more folks who are in elementary school and middle school and high school to realize that this is a very exciting career," added Peters.
A world full of driverless cars may be off in the future, but that future is nearing thanks in part to the work being done at Michigan Tech.