Second Time's the Charm

July 22, 2013


Our second meetup for the ‘Self-Driving Car’ in the ever volatile Central New Jersey weather was a scorcher in the making.

This time, it definitely did not rain – we were given a hundred degree weather instead.Even in the heat, around thirty interested people were in attendance to hear how the team was to assemble a sensor network.


Once again, Praful was the MC and led the presentation before introducing Brian Langel, the co-founder of DASH Labs.

DASH is an application that automatically tracks data about your driving habits and your car's wear and tear to keep you safe, and save you money. As the head of the labs, Langel seeks to create a passionate base of users for the mobile app, as well as develop a marketplace for trip data that drivers can leverage to reduce costs.

Langel discussed how to capture data from the car using sensors and how this data collection will help both the driver and the data collecters.

Passion Project

Following Langel was the very interesting engineer Jason Dorweiler. His talk was centered on what sensors made sense to use with the autonomous car, from a practical and financial standpoint.

Jason, in his free time, built a few autonomous robots, including an autonomous RC car and an indoor robot powered by ROS. Of course, anyone can say they could do this, so Jason brought his robots in for a demonstration that showcased the very technologies we hope to bring to a car.

Next Steps

After the two technical presentations, Praful addressed the progress done so far within the ‘Self-Driving Vehicle’ project and the next steps needed. Points were made for the community to get involved in virtual world development, sensor network analysis, and looking for funding opportunities.

A crowd funding campaign hosted on RocketHub for the project was also introduced and Praful encouraged everyone to fund and pass on the word.


The surprise was saved for the end though, when Praful introduced a political team interested in working with the project. Senator Thomas Kean Jr. of the New Jersey Senate sent a delegation to the meetup, as they found the ‘Self-Driving Vehicle’ project in line with the legislation (Bill #2898) the Senator is trying to push in the NJ Senate.

This development excited everyone in attendance and showed that the project was getting the attention from the right people.

After the entire presentation (once again, no pizza left!), the audience socialized and tested out the new robots for themselves. The presentation, coupled with the presence of the Senator’s team, left everyone excited in the direction the project is heading in.

Maybe, by the next meetup, we will even have a law named after our project!


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Build an autonomous RC car: Step-by-step tutorial

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