Integrating Big Data into Robotics

What is the RET site?

This Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site at the University of Nevada, Reno aims to deliver a unique holistic research experience to K-12 teachers of Nevada in relation to future smart cities and the cutting edge topics of robotics and big data, as well as their intersection. The overarching goal is to enable a critical mass of teachers in Nevada to be able to help their students develop a passion for these domains, strengthen their critical thinking and broadly nurture an interest to excel in STEM fields.

Why participate in the RET site?

  • $10,000 per teacher per summer
  • Participate in state-of-the-art projects from NSF, DARPA, NASA, DOE, and more
  • Be involved in hands-on research
  • Take the knowledge back to your classroom

Research in the fields of robotics and big data is currently of paramount importance in order to address the multitude of open challenges to achieve truly autonomous driving and the realization of smart cities. The relevance and significance of cross-disciplinary research in robotics and big data cannot be overstated in the context of STEM education and its potential is daily growing.

This site will attract K-12 teacher participants towards STEM education by providing tangible research experiences and appropriately designed knowledge modules, in turn enhancing the STEM education for their students,and further designing and deploying transferable research and education tools for the school environment.

This project aims to nurture an interest and passion for robotics and big data research to K-12 teachers of all levels, especially from the perspective of their intersection for smart cities.

RET site goals

The RET site will provide a tangible experience through:

  • Educational activities on the fundamental principles of autonomous driving, machine learning, and big data
  • A custom-designed, miniaturized, and transferable test-bed of smart cities called "Robocity"
  • Hands-on activities on an instrumented electric bus and a drive-by-wire Lincoln MKZ autonomous car

Teachers will gain knowledge and research experiences in fields such as:

  • Robotic perception
  • Machine learning
  • Control
  • Path planning
  • Big data analytics
  • Big data system design

To enhance the quality of STEM education in local K-12 schools at all levels, a team with both senior and junior faculty has been assembled to support the development of curricular modules and provide a set of mechanisms that allow research to be seamlessly transferred to the school environment. A thorough plan for project evaluation and a participant recruitment process that focuses on underrepresented groups and respective student populations is considered.

To ensure that the skills acquired by teachers are transferred to the classroom, the PI team will take follow-up activities by continued collaboration with the RET participants for installation and preparation of the Robocity and offering demonstrations and tangible exercises at schools, as well as workshops at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Project details

  • Principal Investigator: Kostas Alexis
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Lei Yang
  • Duration: September 1, 2018 and ends August 31, 2021
  • Project funded by National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Award Amount: $581,073

Funding support

This research is supported by NSF Award # 1801727