EMU student honored for research in automating an electronic golf cart

By Geoff Larcom / EMU

YPSILANTI – David DeLisle knew he wanted to be an engineer, and he conducted a thorough search of schools.

He settled on a new engineering program at Eastern Michigan University, where he has flourished academically while carving out a distinct path in research of autonomous vehicles and earning a variety of honors.

DeLisle, a senior from Brighton who is pursuing a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently won the first prize award for Best Student Paper in the American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference. His paper was “Control System Integration for Automating an Electric Golf Cart.”

DeLisle was also selected as the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology Outstanding Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering Student for this academic year.

New EMU engineering program fit goals

DeLisle says that he toured numerous local universities, and that the new Electrical and Computer Engineering (EECE) degree at EMU fit with his academic goals.

“I liked the idea of contributing to a new program, the relaxed atmosphere, the resources available, and I looked to make my mark at a university,” DeLisle said. “Since I planned to attend graduate school, I joined The Honors College and jumped at the invitation to join the EMU McNair Scholars Program, which inspired me to pursue research within the EECE program.”

Along with those actions, he became involved with the autonomous golf cart (AGC) project in the college. This project’s goal is to convert an electric golf cart into a test platform for deep learning algorithms. The deep learning algorithms for path planning/searching and self-driving will eventually lead to an autonomous golf cart that can navigate the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

“We will integrate many peripheral sensors such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). Sensors and control systems used to automate this golf cart, which will be built as an extension of the existing systems on the chassis,” DeLisle said.

After graduation in fall 2021, DeLisle plans to apply to graduate schools to further his education in electrical engineering and electric vehicles.

“My long term goals are to achieve a Ph.D. in the field of Electrical Engineering,” he says. “After my education, I aim to work with a renowned university or automotive manufacturer to create the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles.”

Presenting his work

In addition to his AGC research, DeLisle has attended many conferences presenting his work thus far with the project group.

DeLisle’s honors regarding his research and experience in EECE include:

• American Society of Electrical Engineers (ASEE) North Central Section (NCS) Best Student Paper Award – “Control System Integration for Automating an Electric Golf Cart.” Dr. Qin Hu, faculty mentor.

• Honors College Research Fellowship $1500 Grant – “Control Systems Integration for Automating Functions of a Commercial Golf Cart” Dr. Qin Hu, faculty mentor. Winter, 2021.

• Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program (URSP) Fellowship ($2,000 for Student, $500 for Faculty Mentor) Grant (Fall 2020).

• Leadership in Engineering – Ford Motor Company’s Alan Mulally $10,000 Scholarship Recipient (Winter 2019).

Working with faculty and peers

DeLisle says he’s enjoyed the time he’s spent with faculty, GAs, fellow students, CET administration, and mentors.

“Working with these wonderful people has given me such an amazing experience that I would argue is very hard to find at another university,” he says. “I would like to thank these people for their support and ongoing involvement in my education.”

Professor Hu expressed her appreciation in serving as the faculty mentor for DeLisle’s AGC research.

“David is a true leader in our research team,” Hu says. “He is always willing to help others and to share his knowledge and skills with other students, creating an inclusive atmosphere among his peers.

“He has great passion for his research and is always willing to work extra hours on it. Despite the pandemic situation, David always tries his best to keep working on the autonomous golf car project remotely and on campus.

“I believe his hardworking attitude, his patience, and his problem-solving personality will aid him in becoming a successful engineer or researcher.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.

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