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MURI Program: Study in Universal Design Principles to Accommodate Elderly Passengers of Autonomous Vehicles

DUE is home to IEL and the CRL which is administering the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI) both in the academic year and the summer, which creates and supports multidisciplinary research teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, senior staff and faculty. The primary purpose of these teams is to provide undergraduates a unique opportunity to gain research skills by working with mentors on real world problems.

Overview of department:

In 2021, the US Economic Development Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Commence) helped establish and fund The Initiative for Electrified and Autonomous Mobility (IEAM), which is a university center based in the Purdue School of Engineering Technology located here on the IUPUI campus. In partnership with the Transportation and Autonomous Systems Institute (TASI) and the Kelley School of Business’ Center for Excellence in Manufacturing (CEM), IEAM focuses on research, teaching, and corporate engagement related to electrified and autonomous transportation. We are looking to fulfill 6 positions for this project.

Project summary:
The goal of this student-based research project is to understand the transportation/mobility needs of a specific demographic (elderly in urban, suburban and rural areas). In the project student will investigate how older adults’ and other relevant stakeholders perceptions of electrified and autonomous mobility technologies and how adoption of such technologies might affect older adults’ future transportation/mobility needs. The expected outcome of the project will be a research presentation that outlines key findings from literature and interviews with key stakeholders.

  • Understand the transportation/mobility needs
Phase 2: DEFINE
  • Define a opportunity space
Phase 3: IDEATE
  • Develop strategic interventions
  • Design a persuasive communication

Specific tasks that the MURI student will complete: 

  • Phase 1: Working with faculty, students will select specific demographics and form teams accordingly: Older Adults living in Urban or Rural, Younger Adults with disabilities living in Urban or Rural, and Transportation caregivers living in Urban or Rural. Students will conduct a literature review and fieldwork to understand the current state of elderly mobility and transportation needs. They will produce a report describing findings
  • Phase 2: Students will identify gaps in elderly mobility/transportation needs that need to be addressed. Each team will define an opportunity space exploring solutions based on their gap analysis and formulate a strategic statement.
  • Phase 3: Students will explore solutions based on a defined opportunity space from phase 2. Each team will create a brief that addresses how newly proposed services, including electrified and autonomous technologies, fill those gaps.
  • Phase 4: Students will reflect on the process, synthesize process deliverables, and create communication artifacts, including presentation slides and a poster.

Specific qualifications (knowledge, skills, class standing, etc) we desire the MURI candidate to have:

A cross discipline team of students. A mixed of class standing, with the ability to; work well on a team, conduct quality literature searches, analyze data, great communications and presentation skills

Learning objectives as outlined in the IUPUI Profiles of Undergraduate Learning:

At the end of this project, IEAM will have a clear understanding of:
  1. The needs the elderly expect to be met by electrified and autonomous vehicles Profile: Communicator/Problem Solver
  2. What the gaps are in the current vehicle designs Profile: Innovator
  3. Realize several potential solutions for further research. Profile: Problem Solver