For his undergraduate research, Tejas has been part of a research group working with autonomous and electric cars.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Steve Boyles, Transportation Engineering
Briefly describe your research project.
I am working on two research projects. My first project seeks to quantify the economic benefits of having self-driving cars in a city network. We are using various major cities across the world, including Austin, to study the economic impacts on various aspects of travel behavior. My second project looks at where to place charging stations for electric vehicles. Using mathematical models, we try to predict the optimal location of charging stations.
Describe the tasks you engage in as part of your work.
Primarily, my tasks involve mathematical modeling using various programming languages and analyzing data generated by these models. Once we have the data analyzed, I spend my time writing papers that explain the findings of my models and what that means for the average traveler.
Describe what you thought college might be like before you came to UT. Did you consider research when thinking about college?
I went to high school in India, and I knew that college would be very different that anything I had been exposed to prior to joining UT. Although I hadn’t expected that I would spend so much time in research in college, I was always interested in pursuing research. Joining a research university like UT, I knew that I would be able to learn about innovative research.
How did you get involved with your research project?
In search of an on-campus job, I came across an opening for a research assistant for a professor in civil engineering. I worked with the professor for a semester and eventually transitioned to the current research team.
Do you see your project connecting with your plans for your future?
Absolutely. I have grown to appreciate the potential impacts that self-driving cars can have on transportation and I intend to be a part of the change from the current transportation system to a more connected and more automated one. With my background in finance and engineering, I hope that I can work on bringing a financially feasible vehicle automation technology to reality.
What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve gotten to do for this project?
The most interesting thing for me was being able to use my knowledge from finance to predict economic benefits of self-driving cars. I feel that I was able to create a unique approach to this analysis, unlike any other analysis my team had read or come across.
What advice would you give to a student who was thinking about research?
My biggest advice would be that it’s never too early or too late to start research. I started research as a freshman, and many of my friends have started as upperclassmen. If you want to get involved in research, there are various resources that the university offers to make sure you can get your teeth into the areas that interest you.
Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.