Jonah Gandy leads the MSU CAVs team to Success

The Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) group for each EcoCAR team works on software development, creating perception and longitudinal control systems and establishing V2X connectivity. At Mississippi State University (MSU), Jonah Gandy is serving as the CAVs graduate lead. The MSU team is currently developing high-level project outlines for the CAVs swimlane through breaking down objectives from the competition and dealing with the project development phase. Additionally, the second component of their work deals with incorporating new recruits into the subteam. Between focusing on the radar sensor fusion and incorporating V2X connectivity functions, Gandy says that he is thankful for the hard work that the team has completed thus far and is excited to see what they accomplish in the future.

Gandy began working with EcoCAR after taking a course centered around sensor processing for autonomous vehicles. He shared that this class opened the door to countless vehicle autonomy aspects. When asked what inspired him to join the MSU EcoCAR team, Gandy explained that the course sparked a passion for autonomous vehicles, so he discussed the possibilities of getting involved with vehicle autonomy with his professor. Afterwards, he interviewed for the position before officially joining the team in June 2020.

At the time of onboarding, Gandy recalled that it was a busy season filled with working on the software side of the vehicle while also spending a decent amount of effort on testing. Last semester, the team figured out how to achieve a fully functioning sensor fusion system. Gandy additionally led the team in getting adaptive cruise control to work before the final competition, which he mentioned was incredibly exciting. By the end of the year, they were able to fully autonomously control the vehicle in the longitudinal direction.

This year, the MSU CAVs team is working with loop testing and perception with radar camera sensor function. The team is in the process of integrating the V2X system into the Blazer with vehicle communication and vehicle-to-infrastructure. Gandy specifically has created game plans for the entire team based on competition deadlines and deliverables. He works closely with undergraduate co-lead Blake Berry to break down the projects for the rest of the team and recruit members to be a part of their swim lane. Their goal is to get members involved and to teach them about the current vehicular systems.

When discussing how EcoCAR has prepared him for the future, Gandy said, “It has done tremendous amounts and, to say the least, has shown me several things while also giving me a leg up on my resume.” He added that it is not just the tools he is working with, but also the projects he is working on that will help him to succeed in the future. Being on EcoCAR means running into similar scenarios and challenges that real engineers in the industry are faced with. Because of this, he shared that he has an advantage coming into the industry because he is prepared to understand the process for developing and testing, along with building requirements. Gandy said that he is grateful for the CAVs experience and the relevant vehicular exposure in EcoCAR.