Recently, the department said farewell to Daniel Ingram as he moved on to a new chapter in his career. Ingram received a BS in Physics and an MS in Engineering Physics from Appalachian prior to taking on a role in the department as a lecturer. We are very proud of Daniel and excited to see him grow. He will be working for a robotics company called Torc Robotics. When asked to talk a little more about his new job and his time at Appalachian, he responded with:
Torc Robotics is an almost 15-year-old autonomous vehicle solutions company with a full software stack for autonomous driving called Asimov. Torc got its start providing solutions for the mining and defense industries and has now expanded to commercial applications such as public transportation. Our level 4 software has been showcased on Lexus and Pacifica vehicles, which have driven in over 20 states, including for demonstrations in Las Vegas during CES 2018. More recently, Torc partnered with Transdev, a European mobility company, to implement its software on autonomous shuttles, which are currently being tested in France. In April, we announced a partnership with Daimler Trucks to forward Level 4 autonomous trucking.
All of my work so far has been on the commercial side of things. About half of my job has been writing software to analyze and visualize data from the vehicle's sensors and the software modules for motion planning and behaviors. The other half has been (the grad students are going to love this) generating and carrying out test plans to try to break the software. I’ve been doing some work on Daimler, and I'll probably be headed to France at the end of July to work on the Transdev project. All in all, I'm having a great time and have loved every minute of working here.
Without the Engineering Physics graduate program, though, I would be way out of my element. I, of course, have to thank Dr. Clements, Brad, and Ben for preparing me for this role in which I have a lot to learn very quickly and independently and am responsible for figuring out the cause when debugging issues. So, to the grad students: when Dr. Clements says to you, "You tell me." or Brad shrugs and walks away chuckling or Ben just smiles at you in response to your question, thank them for not giving you the answer. Trust me, they are doing you a favor. For those of you who think self-driving vehicles are pretty cool and you would maybe want to work with them, Torc is growing rapidly, so please feel free to check out Torc’s career page and reach out to me if you're interested.