The Dreams (And Nightmares) of Autonomous Vehicles: A Practitioner’s Perspective

Saturday, May 21st, 2016 – 6:00 PM

Google Self Driving CarThe idea of cars that drive themselves is revolutionizing the automotive industry. Automated vehicles promise freed driver time, improved fuel economy, and accident-free traffic. Not surprisingly, many manufacturers – particularly in the luxury sector – are pushing to quickly put automated vehicle technologies into customer hands.

This presentation examines automated vehicles and explains their underlying technologies. The proposed benefits may cause significant changes to human behavior, some of which may not be beneficial to society. Community-wide discussion must begin regarding the use and trade offs of automated vehicle technologies, and this talk is meant to begin that conversation.

Sean Brennan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Sean Brennan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Sean Brennan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University, where he leads the Intelligent Vehicles and Systems Group. He is also the director of the Vehicle Systems and Safety Program, an organization of about 40 faculty and staff members involved with Penn State’s Larson Transportation Institute who are focused on advancing vehicle technologies, safety, and human-vehicle interaction. His research focuses on vehicle dynamics both at high speeds (highway vehicles) and low speeds (ground robotics), with particular expertise on collision avoidance, the use of maps to assist in vehicle guidance and new methods for assessing driver behavior around autonomous and driver-assist technologies. He has published nearly 100 papers on applications including high-speed police pursuits, vehicle rollover prevention, hybrid vehicles, bomb disposal robots, and even the similar mathematical relationships between brain seizure and traffic jam dynamics.

Prior to the presentation, the Penn State Alumni Association will host a reception where alumni and friends can mingle with other Penn Staters while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

The AACA Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate Museum.  Guests will be able to enjoy the world-class automotive exhibits and displays during the reception.

Cost includes reception, two complimentary beverages, and presentation.


$35 Alumni Association members

$50 Non-members


6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Reception

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Presentation and Q&A Session

Event check-in will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Casual attire.

Register to Attend